Women’s Health in the South East (WHISE) is set to develop a sexual and reproductive health strategy and action plan for the Southern Metropolitan Region (SMR).

“As we celebrate the International Day of Action for Women’s Health, it’s a timely reminder for women and girls to prioritise their sexual and reproductive health,” says WHISE CEO, Ms Michelle Wood.

“We believe it’s essential that every women has access to services and supports they need to ensure optimal health, regardless of their personal circumstances.”

Following the State Government’s recent release of Victoria’s first ever Women’s sexual and reproductive health strategy and priority action plan, WHISE has been allocated extra funding of $45,000 to deliver a collaborative strategy which will address the sexual and reproductive health needs of women in the SMR.

Sexual and reproductive health includes the right to healthy and respectful relationships, inclusive, safe and appropriate services, access to accurate information, and effective and affordable methods of family planning and fertility regulation1.

WHISE is committed to addressing and supporting the Victorian Government’s key priority areas of:

  • Fertility support
  • Reproductive choices
  • Early treatment, diagnosis and management of specific reproductive health issues, such as endometriosis
  • Sexual health

Sexual and reproductive health is also highlighted as a priority in the Victorian public health and wellbeing plan 2015-19.

“We know that there are still barriers and service gaps which affect women’s access to affordable healthcare, contraception and termination services in our region. Our first priority is to identify these barriers and gaps, which will help to determine how to best address the needs of women within our very diverse region,” says Ms Wood.

The regional strategy will be guided by a committee, which will not only strengthen collective and coordinated action, but also bring together expertise and resources, to ultimately work towards meeting the sexual and reproductive health needs of women across our whole region.

 1Malarcher S 2010, Social determinants of sexual and reproductive health: informing future research and programme implementation, World Health Organisation, Geneva