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Sexual and Reproductive Health
WHIN has Sexual and Reproductive Health as a health promotion priority and is committed to advocating for a Northern Metropolitan region where:
- Women and service providers are educated about, and have a developed understanding of, women's sexual and reproductive health.
- Sexual and reproductive health services are appropriate and accessible.
- Women are free to express their sexuality without experiencing ill health, discrimination or abuse.
Sexual health is 'a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence' (WHO, 2006).
Reproductive health 'addresses the reproductive processes, functions and system at all stages of life. Reproductive health, therefore, implies that people are able to have a responsible, satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so' (International Conference on Population and Development, 1994).
Current data for the northern metropolitan region of Melbourne (NMR) indicates that out of the seven local government areas that form the region:
- Five have higher 15 to 19-year old birth rates than the Melbourne average.
- Four have higher birth rates than the Victorian average.
- Two have had significant increases in birth numbers in the last five years.
- One has a female chlamydia rate which is almost double the Victorian average.
- Five have higher prevalence of Hepatitis B than Victoria.
- Four have lower HPV vaccination coverage rates than Victoria.
- Four have Pap screening participation rates lower than the Victorian average.
- Three have rates of rape, and three have rates of sexual assault which are higher than the Victorian rate.
For more detailed information refer to Going South in the North: A snapshot of the sexual and reproductive health status of women living in Melbourne's northern metropolitan region here.
Alternatively NMR, LGA specific and young women factsheets can be found here.
WHIN's Sexual and Reproductive Health Position Statement can be found here.
Female Genital Cutting (FGC) describes all non-medical procedures that remove, or cause injury to, parts of a female's external genitals. It is also known as female genital mutilation (FGM) or female circumcision.
The World Health Organisation estimates that 100-140 million women and girls worldwide have undergone the practice of FGC with approximately three million girls subjected to the practice each year.
WHIN is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services to deliver community education and professional development sessions in the northern metropolitan region (NMR) on issues of FGC. These sessions focus on providing education on the practice and managing the sexual and reproductive health problems it may cause. WHIN also provides support and referral for those who may be affected.
There are four main components of WHIN's work in this area:
Girls Talk Health Educational Program – This is a sexual and reproductive health education program that has a focus on female genital cutting (FGC). The program is framed within a comprehensive and culturally sensitive sexual and reproductive health education context. The program has been designed to be delivered in schools and other educational settings, working with student welfare coordinators and school nurses.
Girls Talk Health seeks to raise awareness about the practice of FGC, promote its abandonment and inform participants about support services available. Other topics covered include relationships, contraception, periods, pregnancy and STIs.
Click on the image to access the Girls Talk Health resource booklet.
Community Education – Sessions are delivered on request with a range of groups in the community. In these sessions, WHIN delivers messages about prevention of FGC, and provides opportunities for women to discuss the effects of FGC on their sexual and reproductive health and their access to health services.
Professional Development for Health Service Providers – WHIN delivers a number of professional education sessions on FGC for clinicians and community workers based in the NMR. The sessions we run focus on developing an understanding about the practice, the local prevalence, health impacts, challenges for health professionals and the importance of providing culturally sensitive medical responses.
Secondary consultations – WHIN provides secondary consultations to professionals and community members about FGC.
Sexual and Reproductive Health Information
For further Sexual and Reproductive Health information, have a look at these great websites:
For information about sexual and reproductive health services click here.