Family Planning recently made our submission to the Ministry of Health on Aotearoa’s first ever Women’s Health Strategy.
We shared our vision for improving health equity for women, girls, transgender and gender diverse people in New Zealand. We recognise the significance of the strategy as tool to provide direction for the health system, and a catalyst for concrete action, to improve health outcomes for women and girls.
In our submission, Family Planning recommended 8 priority actions for the health system to improve the health of women and girls.
We developed these recommendations based on our experience as a sexual and reproductive health care provider and the voices of our clients and other stakeholders who have completed our surveys over the years.
These are our recommendations for action:
1. Make contraceptive visits in primary care universally free for any contraceptive type.
2. Ensure equitable access to primary care providers specialising in sexual and reproductive health care.
3. Undergo regular reviews of contraceptive options in Aotearoa against internationally available products to ensure a full range of modern types (eg contraceptive ring, patch, self-injectable) is available.
4. Prioritise reducing inequity in sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates for Māori and Pacific women and girls.
5. Fully fund the cervical screening programme, like all other national screening programmes.
6. Fund abortion provision in primary care.
7. Strengthen young people’s knowledge and skills about relationships and sexuality, through culturally appropriate relationships and sexuality education from Year 1 through to Year 13.
8. Ensure sexism and gender inequity are included in culturally appropriate health promotion initiatives in schools and the community.
We know there’s a lot more to do, but we think this is a great place to start.