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New culturally safe resources on periods and polycystic ovary syndrome are now available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and healthcare professionals.

The brochures, educational kits and animations to recognise and manage symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have been launched by Jean Hailes for Women’s Health and Central Australian Aboriginal Congress.

While PCOS occurs in one in 10 women and girls in Australia, it’s more prevalent in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, where it affects up to one in six women.

The resources have been designed so that women can recognise symptoms associated with PCOS, seek help and manage them, Tahnia Edwards, Manager of Central Australian Aboriginal Congress’ (Congress) Alukura Women’s Health Service said.

“It is also an opportunity, particularly for young women, to take control and increase their awareness about PCOS and their bodies.

“It helps to start the conversation about the condition and let them know they can seek help from their healthcare provider. Especially if Aboriginal women are having trouble becoming pregnant or have concerns about their fertility; they can get the support they need to help them have a baby,” Ms Edwards said.

The resources were co-designed by representatives from Congress and Jean Hailes, as well as health professionals and Aboriginal women in Mparntwe (Alice Springs).

The culturally safe resources feature artwork by Arrernte artist Amunda Gorey, and illustrations by Coolamon Creative, from the Northern Territory. The relatable illustrations reflect the lives, environment and culture of First Nation’s women, while simple explanations replace complex medical information.

Sabella Turner, Female Lead Aboriginal Cultural Advisor at Congress said it was important to have the resources available in local languages.

“The resources are easy to read and have a simple layout. They have also been checked for cultural safety, so we don’t make people feel shame.”

“Community engagement ensures we can reach priority groups right across Australia, providing all women with trusted and evidence-based health information