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Improve Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health

Women have a right to optimal sexual and reproductive health.

Women have a right to optimal sexual and reproductive health. 

Sexual and reproductive health (SRH) is an important health issue for all women in the region. It has a significant impact on women’s physical and mental health, and their emotional and social wellbeing. Optimal sexual and reproductive health is about much more than the absence of disease. It’s about wellbeing, respect and freedom from discrimination and violence. Optimal sexual and reproductive health outcomes require access to accurate, evidence- and rights-based information and safe, effective, timely and affordable health services. It also requires health promotion efforts that address the gender inequality that underpins poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes.  

Sexual and reproductive health is both affected by, and contributes to, gender equity. Expanding and protecting women’s autonomy, control and choice over their sexual and reproductive health is a key component of advancing gender equity. Advancing gender equity, by increasing women’s access to social, economic, political and cultural resources and power also reduces barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive healthcare and improving outcomes. 

The Victorian Government identified ‘Improving Sexual and Reproductive Health’ as one of the ten key priorities of the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2019-2023.Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health: Key Priorities 2017- 2020 was the first ever Victorian sexual and reproductive health strategy and provides direction for the coordination of partnership efforts at a state wide, regional and local level. It is currently under renewal.  

A Strategy for Equality: Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health in Melbourne’s East 2020 – 2025 

Women’s Health East has developed and published a regional strategy for women’s sexual and reproductive health in consultation with a wide variety of organisations from across the sector, including members of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategic Reference Group led by Women’s Health East. A Strategy for Equality and the Background Paper identify key SRH priorities and priority populations in the Eastern Metropolitan Region and articulate a framework for improving women’s SRH through enhancing equity, increasing access to key services and improving the capability of the healthcare system to address women’s SRH. 

A Strategy for Equality: Action Plan 2021-2023

This Action Plan has been developed to operationalise the framework articulated in The Strategy and outline the collective actions that will be undertaken by the Eastern Metropolitan Region Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategic Reference Group to improve the SRH of women, trans men, non-binary and gender diverse people across the EMR for the next two years.

Reproductive healthcare in the EMR

Women’s Health East is committed to improving access to comprehensive reproductive health services in the Eastern Metropolitan Region.  This includes promoting the providers of abortion to women in the EMR and educating the community about their health, their choices and their rights.

In Victoria, both the medical and surgical abortion are available.  To find comprehensive information regarding abortion, including where to get an abortion, how much an abortion costs, the types of abortion and abortion law in Victoria, please visit 1800myoptions.org.au or call 1800 696 784.

Some abortion providers in the EMR include:

EACH

Marie Stopes Australia

Family Planning Victoria

For a more comprehensive list of abortion and other sexual and reproductive healthcare providers, please visit 1800myoptions.org.au or call 1800 696 784.

We also work to build the capacity of health care providers in the EMR by facilitating training for primary care providers in the provision and management of Early Medical Abortion (EMA).  Together with EMA and reproductive health experts, WHE regularly hosts training forums where we provide comprehensive information on all aspects of EMA, including accreditation requirements, referral pathways, care pathways and aftercare.

The Royal Women’s Hospital Clinical Guidelines

The RWH’s Clinical Guidelines present statements of ‘best practice’ based on thorough evaluation of evidence.

Abortion: medical management up to 9 weeks of pregnancy

Abortion: Principles of Assessment and Care

All guidelines

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Family Planning Victoria

Medication Termination of Pregnancy Resources 

FPV provide resources for clinicians who are establishing an EMA service in their own practice environments.

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1800 MY OPTIONS

A confidential and free phone line and online service, providing information about contraception, abortion and sexual health, with links to relevant services in Victoria. 

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CERSH

(Centre for Excellence in Rural Sexual Health

Health Practitioner Resource Hub for Abortion & Contraception Care

The Hub provides a selection of key resources, tools and materials to support clinicians working in the domain of abortion and contraception care. It contains links and downloads to over 100 free resources and is grouped in helpful categories.

Victorian Clinical Network for Abortion and Contraception Care

A network established for practitioners to provide leadership, peer learning, and clinical service development for abortion and contraception care across Victoria.

If you would like to be on the distribution list for the Clinical Network quarterly newsletter and meeting invites, you can subscribe here. 

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Therapeutic Guidelines

eTG complete is recognised as a leading source of accurate, independent and practical treatment advice for a wide range of clinical conditions. It includes explicit instructions for therapy, assisting practitioners in making decisions to ensure their patients receive optimum treatment. 

 

The guidelines for medical abortion provide guidance to both providers and referring clinicians on initial assessment, prescribing and follow-up after medical abortion.

A paid subscription is required in order to access eTG complete.

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SPHERE

The NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Sexual and Reproductive Health for Women in Primary Care, is a network of experts and researchers that aims to transform the delivery of sexual and reproductive health care services to women in Australian primary care.

EMR Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategic Reference Group 

Women’s Health East leads the Eastern Metropolitan Regional SRH Strategic Reference Group which includes over sixteen regional partner organisations as well as six statewide organisations. The Strategic Reference group seeks to promote and facilitate action around SRH in the Eastern Metropolitan Region.   

If you work in the health or community sectors within the EMR and are interested in joining the Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategic Reference Group, please contact Claire Butselaar at cbutselaar@whe.org.au 

For more information on sexual and reproductive health, check out our Resources section.