Published: Friday, 3 March 2023

Women’s health is the focus for a community health event in Oxford ahead of International Women’s Day on 8 March.

The event, which takes place on Monday 6 March, will cover a range of women’s health concerns, including menopause, Long Covid, HIV and infant feeding, period poverty and HPV vaccine in schools. It follows a successful event in December that led to a number of Long Covid clinic referrals from Black women and women of colour in the city, who are disproportionately impacted by Covid and Long Covid and underrepresented in referrals.

The March event is organised by Oxford’s Community Champions, in partnership with the University of Oxford, Transition Light House and other health partners. It is hoped that the event will provide a safe space for women from communities that sometimes face challenges accessing health services, and increase their confidence to talk about sensitive health matters that have impacted them and their communities.

Speakers at the event include Councillor Shaista Aziz, representatives from the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, Oxford University,  local health service providers and people living with different health conditions. The NHS Health on the Move van will also be at the site to offer mini healthy living checks and first and second Covid vaccines.

The event is open to any women who want to attend. It runs 10am -2pm at the Glow Hall, Blackbird Leys Community Centre, OX4 6HW. A free lunch is provided and participants will be reimbursed travel cost if needed.

“Helping women access the right healthcare is really important, it has a huge impact on their role in the workforce and as the main carers for children and elderly family members. This event helps health professionals hear first-hand from communities where women don’t get the right care, understand ways to improve and build more trust between patients and health professionals. These events from our community champions are making a genuine difference, I hope this will see more women getting the care they need.”

Councllor Shaista Aziz, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Communities

 "It is such a pleasure to work together with Oxford's community champions and councillors, local charity organisations, clinicians, academics, health advocates and members of the public to produce this event for International Women's Day. Each of us bring a very different set of skills and experience together in order to maximise the sharing of knowledge and support. The day's discussions will be about clinical services, medical research, lived experiences, and practical support for this very important range of health topics.”

Dr Tanvi Rai, a Senior Researcher at Oxford University and one of the event organisers

Community Champions are volunteers who represent communities that have challenges accessing health services, including ethnic minorities, refugees and people experiencing homelessness. This outreach event is funded via a research grant from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (grant number NIHR201032).

Ten of Oxford’s 83 neighbourhood areas are among the most deprived in the country.  In these areas people die up to a decade earlier than those living in the wealthiest parts of the city. The Community Champions initiative has been set up to understand and remove barriers people in these neighbourhood experience accessing healthcare, and make changes to services to make them more accessible and inclusive.

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