Monday, November 18, 2013
Young New Zealanders deserve to have the recommendations of a Parliamentary Select Committee report implemented in full.
We are putting our weight behind the Committee's call for a cross-sectoral action plan on sexual and reproductive health.
Our chief executive Jackie Edmond, who contributed to the report, says Family Planning has been calling for some time for a co-ordinated approach to improving New Zealand's sexual and reproductive health statistics.
She says an evidence-based approach using international best-practice, as recommended by the report, would make real and tangible differences – for individuals and at a population level.
The report says
“We recommend to the Government that it develop a co-ordinated cross-sectoral action plan with the objective of giving New Zealand world-leading, best-practice evidence-based sexual and reproductive health education, contraception, sterilisation, termination and sexual health services, distributed to cover the whole country.”
“The plan should be developed within 12 to 18 months of this report being published, and be matched with appropriate, sustainable resourcing. The plan should also be monitored by trends in teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, unplanned pregnancy, and terminations.”
Ms Edmond says “We know from international examples such as Scotland, that the implementation of a strategy with an across government commitment, funding and timeframe – will make a real and significant difference in how and when young people are able to access services and information”.
“Making this report real would make a measurable difference in outcomes for young New Zealanders and would address issues that have been concerning us for so long – high rates of unintended pregnancy, high rates of sexually transmissible infections and delays and barriers young people face in accessing services.”
Ms Edmond says New Zealand's 2001 sexual and reproductive health strategy is outdated, has not been fully implemented and needs reviewing.
“The Select Committee report has already had the benefit of putting these issues into the public domain and prompting debate – but if we can encourage the government to implement the recommendations around sexual and reproductive health – it will result in real and quantifiable benefits for young people and that's the goal we're after,” Ms Edmond says.
“It's timely that this report is published the week as Family Planning is opening a client contact centre, the first step in a set of initiatives to make our services more widely accessible. We're grateful to the Health Select Committee for producing the report and will be advocating for its full implementation.”
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