With the intent of addressing Sexual and Reproductive Health issues, Government, through its Ministry of Public Health, has introduced a strategy to guide its actions in this regard. The strategy, called, Guyana Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy: SDG3 Good Health and Well-being’, was launched by the Ministry with the support of the United Nations Family Planning Association (UNFPA).
According to Public Health Minister, Volda Lawrence, the new strategy is designed for planners, policymakers and other key decision-makers and administrators responsible for primary healthcare issues.
She said that the strategy’s blueprint gives leverage “without reserve” to all stakeholders. Specialists in the field agree that sexual and reproductive health represents complete physical, mental and social well-being in all matters relating to the reproductive system. According to them, sexual and reproductive health implies that individuals have a satisfying and safe sex life, can reproduce, and have the prerogative deciding if, when, and how often they have intercourse.
However, maintaining sexual and reproductive health presupposes access to accurate information and safe, effective, affordable and acceptable contraception method of their choice, experts say.
The final version of the strategy, which was presented and approved by Cabinet, included some policies related to special health areas including sexually transmitted infection (STI) malignancies, and infertility “which has once again emerged as an import area of concern,” said Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Shamdeo Persaud.
The launch of the strategy, according to UNFPA’s Liaison Officer, Mr. Adler Bynoe, is a “fitting way” demonstrating Guyana’s renewed commitment to the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development. “We are very proud of that…we have come a far way and can certainly complete the journey,” the UNFPA official said asserting the target groups’ right to make choices “free from violence”.
The strategy was necessary to help Guyana combat what was described as “staggering rates of maternal mortality” among Guyanese women, according to Dr. Persaud.