The government’s recent promise to establish a women’s health strategy as part of its Healthy Futures Bill has been welcomed by Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ).
However, the group would like to see a rural health strategy included in the legislation as well. RWNZ national president Gill Naylor says while the focus on women’s health issues is sorely needed and long overdue, more should be done to ensure geographically fairer healthcare provision.
“We are particularly aware of the challenges faced by rural women, where a lack of services, unreliable connectivity and distance add further complexity,” she says. “We’re disappointed not to see a rural health strategy included in the legislation, alongside the women’s health strategy. Addressing inequity based on where a person lives is vital to ensure better health outcomes for all New Zealanders.
“We now need to see some evidence that rural issues will not be forgotten. Improving health outcomes should never be based on geography or post code – rural communities deserve better.”