Image of Prof Karen Canfell, Chair of the EAGER

Communique from EAGER, 4 February 2022

Communique from the Expert Advisory Group for the Elimination Response (EAGER) 

On 17 November 2021, the Australian Government announced the development of a collaborative National Cervical Cancer Elimination Strategy (the Strategy). This collaborative project is being led by the Australian Centre for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer (ACPCC). The project will inform the Australian Government Department of Health’s future activities to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem in Australia by 2035. 

An Expert Advisory Group for the Elimination Response (the EAGER) was formed in February 2022. EAGER members will provide strategic guidance and deep expertise to help develop the Strategy. The EAGER is chaired by Prof. Karen Canfell, Director of the Daffodil Centre (a joint venture of Cancer Council NSW and The University of Sydney).  

EAGER members come from a range of disciplines and locations across Australia. They include subject matter experts from the three pillars of cervical cancer elimination – HPV vaccination, cervical screening, and cancer treatment – and members representing groups in the community who experience barriers to cervical screening and poorer cervical cancer outcomes.

The EAGER held its first meeting on 4 February 2022 via videoconference. 

Meeting Outcomes

Prof Marion Saville, Executive Director of ACPCC briefed EAGER members about the purpose of the project and its governance structure. Subsequently, members endorsed the EAGER Terms of Reference. Members also provided input on planning and project management documents.

Sub-Advisory Group membership

Four Sub-Advisory Groups will be set up to provide advice to the EAGER and the Project Working Group on Health Equity, HPV Vaccination, Cervical Screening, and Cervical Cancer Treatment. The Sub-Advisory Groups will include experts, including consumers, with hands-on experience in cervical cancer prevention programs and treatment services. All four groups will focus strongly on equity when providing advice and solutions to help develop the Strategy. To support an equitable approach, EAGER members recommended seeking nominees such as Aboriginal Health Workers, clinicians providing services to migrant communities, LGBTIQ+ health services, and those working in rural/remote areas and Sexual Health Services, amongst others. 

Consultation with stakeholders

EAGER members reviewed draft planning materials for stakeholder engagement and consultation. The following core principles for consultation activities were proposed:

  • Respectful: Respect and value the expertise, perspective, and time of all project stakeholders
  • Transparent: Be open, honest and clear about our purpose, information gathered, stakeholder contributions, and project progress
  • Inclusive: Seek and listen to a wide range of views and have flexible processes to meet stakeholders’ needs
  • Purposeful: Provide clarity to stakeholders about our intent and how information shared with the project will be used

All members agreed that a strong emphasis on achieving an equitable approach to eliminating cervical cancer in Australia is a positive and necessary principle for this project.

 The Project Working Group led a discussion about consultation activities. Members provided valuable advice about how best to engage and consult with stakeholders including underserved communities. Consultation activities will commence in mid-2022; these include a consultation paper, online survey, targeted workshops, and interviews.

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