Pacific’s first Sexual and Reproductive Rights Manual Launched

YANUCA, 17 APRIL 2015 (PACNEWS) ---- Fiji's Minister for Health & Medical Services Jone Usamate launched a Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Manual today, during the 11th Pacific Health Ministers Meeting.  

“This manual is the first for the pacific. The first step in prioritising Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights is to address the shortage of practical information on SRHR that is tailored to the unique needs and challenges of the region”, Usamate said.  

Titled the Awareness, Analysis and Action: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Pacific”, the manual has practical, evidence-based tools and information to help practitioners, advocates, policymakers, health workers, trainers and legislators understand key concepts on SRHR.  

This also includes analysing the needs of vulnerable groups and taking action to ensure that all Pacific Islanders claim their right to the highest possible standard of health and wellbeing.  

“I would like to thank the SRHR Working Group for developing this manual together, comprised of a number of key organisations working to address SRHR in the region. We as Health Ministers can champion this valuable resource to be used in our Health Sectors and with relevant service providers.” Usamate added. 

Government commitment has progressed towards achieving Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) goals in the Pacific. The number of Pacific Island countries with national population policies is increasing and the integration of sexual and reproductive health into primary health programmes has also improved.  

The Pacific region is doing well in reducing child mortality as 10 out of the 14 forum island countries are on track in achieving this goal. 9 countries have also made notable progress in reducing maternal mortality, reporting close to 100 per cent skilled birth attendance. These gains would not have been possible without a consistent effort from SRHR advocates across government and civil society. 

At the global level, 2015 is a critical time for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) agenda. Last year marked 20 years since the ground breaking Cairo Consensus emerged from the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). 2015 also marked 20 years since the 4th World Conference on Women and the resulting Beijing De Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, as well as the deadline for achieving the MDG targets. 

This is a crucial time for SRHR advocates around the world to unite and ensure that SRHR remains a global priority in the Post-2015 UN Sustainable Development Agenda. 

The manual is a collaborative project by member organisations of the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Working Group, with secretariat support from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT).  

The following organisations are represented in the SRHR Working Group: Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN); Diverse Voices and Action for Equality (DIVA for Equality); Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM); International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF); Oceania Society for Sexual Health and HIV Medicine (OSSHHM); Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS); Pacific Youth Council (PYC); SPC Human Development Programme (HDP); SPC Public Health Division (PHD);SPC Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT); and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)....PACNEWS

SPC’s Regional Rights Resource Team receives core funding from the Australian Government and additional project support from the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Pacific Leadership Programme (PLP), European Union (EU) and the German Development Bank (KfW).