Communique from the Expert Advisory Group for the Elimination Response
The second meeting of the Expert Advisory Group for the Elimination Response (EAGER) was held on 5 April 2022 via videoconference. The discussion focused on:
- the development of documents and a survey for community consultation, and
- the process for engaging with stakeholder groups through workshops, focus groups and interviews.
EAGER members received a project update from Prof Marion Saville, Executive Director of ACPCC. Stakeholder mapping has been completed, initial project communications have been circulated and consultation planning continues to progress. The Department of Health approved a project timeline extension request to maximise the time available for community consultation, following feedback from the EAGER. The Draft Strategy will be launched for public comment on 17 November 2022, with the final Strategy launch in April 2023.
Chairs of each of the four Sub-Advisory groups (Prof Julia Brotherton, Vaccination Sub-Advisory Group, A/ Prof Megan Smith, Screening Sub-Advisory Group, Prof Yee Leung, Treatment Sub-Advisory Group and A/Prof Lisa Whop, Health Equity Sub-Advisory Group) summarised key themes and individual reflections on the first round of Sub-Advisory Group meetings, including:
- The benefit of HPV vaccination targets to drive action, and that a vaccine target should be appropriate for Australia in the context of our both-sex vaccination program.
- The potential to develop a “schools plus” HPV vaccination strategy to reach young people not engaged in school, and the need to include the youth voice in our consultation.
- Discussion around expanding the cervical screening and pre-treatment workforce for screening and colposcopy, including nurses, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and GPs.
- The potential to develop more detailed national clinical guidelines for cervical cancer treatment in addition to the Optimal Care Pathways. Such guidelines could help drive improvements to access and resourcing for cervical cancer treatment.
- Vaccination, Screening and Treatment Sub-Advisory groups all emphasised the importance of improving data about people’s experiences and health outcomes of priority communities such as people living with a disability, culturally and linguistically diverse communities and LGBTIQ+ communities. Australia will not know if it has achieved elimination equitably unless it has the right data to measure progress and improvements.
- The Health Equity group discussed the definition of equity and highlighted that there is great diversity across and within groups in the community and that intersectionality is important to consider. This group also emphasised the importance of engaging respectfully and meaningfully with stakeholders through the consultation process and about future implementation of the Strategy.
Prof Julia Brotherton and Kate Wilkinson gave an overview of the draft Strategic Summary Analysis and Consultation Paper. The EAGER provided feedback such as suggestions around inclusion of other relevant national and state/territory strategies, clarifying language regarding elimination, survey structure and converting the consultation paper into Easy English.
Next steps: Dr Julie Torode (Consultant) will work with EAGER members to further develop upcoming engagement activities with priority community groups and three technical consultation workshops on vaccination, screening and treatment.