MPs commend Kiri Allan during speeches to ditch 'unsafe, unreliable' faxes in cervical screening programme

A proposed law change to ditch fax machines and improve New Zealand's cervical screening programme passed its second hurdle in Parliament this week, while MPs acknowledged Kiri Allan in their speeches to the House. 

Kiri Allan - Facebook.

Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said that currently, clinicians who want access to cervical screening records of a participant have to request and receive that information via fax.

Source: 1 NEWS

"Fax should have been abolished ages ago in the health system. They are unsafe, unreliable, and have a privacy risk attached to them," Verrall said last night. 

"This bill clears the way for a move to direct, secure, log-in access, just like all the other information systems used across out health system."

Labour's Willow Jean Prime began her speech to the House with a mihi acknowledging Smear Your Mea founder Talei Morrison, who died of cervical cancer in 2018. 

Kiri Allan and Willow-Jean Prime Source: 1 NEWS

Prime said Morrison "really encouraged kapa haka groups across the motu, communities across the motu, wāhine, and whānau to take up that challenge, to make sure that we look after te whare tangata and that we smear our mea". 

She also acknowledged MP Kiritapu Allan who is on her final week of treatment for cervical cancer. 

"She reported being in week nine of that treatment, and giving us all a message of hope and saying kia kaha and aroha to everybody," Prime said of Allan. 

National's Nicola Willis wanted to commend Allan "on her bravery in sharing her story with New Zealand".

New Zealand's Parliament debating chamber. Source: 1 NEWS

"I think it has had a powerful impact across our communities in terms of women's willingness to have screening, to go and have those tests, and that is an incredibly powerful thing to do."

Labour's Anahila Kanongata'a-Suisuiki told the House that Allan's experience "has helped women come out to look at their health in a new way of achieving health for themselves".

"It was said before that this is mainly a women's issue, but it is actually all of us—it's an issue for all of New Zealand. And when we do care about the whare tapa whā, the fonua, the woman, we protect our future. 

"Our fellow MP, our fellow sister, the Hon Kiritapu Allan is going through a tough time, but with all the whole country's prayers and all of this House we want to say, 'Kia kaha wāhine toa'."

Ōtaki MP Terisa Ngobi spoke of the issues for Māori and Pasifika women in accessing cervical screening, "and how we are getting better at messaging in the right way so that Māori and Pacific women understand and are encouraged to make sure they do their regular smear their meas". 

"What Kiritapu is doing at the moment while going through her own wero to me is just an inspiration, that not only is she fighting the really good fight... but she's also thinking about other women."