Malta’s Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne has gone silent on Malta’s contraceptive crisis, seemingly failing to provide tangible solutions to the problem.
Lovin Malta has reached out to the Health Ministry on how it plans to address constant shortages of contraceptives in the country. COVID-19 has understandably been a priority for the nation, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of other serious health concerns.
Equality minister Rosianne Cutajar, who has called for contraceptives to be free and available at all pharmacies, told this newsroom that it is in the hands of the health ministry, but hopes that it is addressed soon.
Women continue to face hurdles to accessing the medicine. A study by MaltaToday discovered that women found it difficult to access emergency contraceptive, known as the morning-after pill.
Just 64% of all pharmacies on the islands are supplying emergency contraceptives. Alarmingly, women in Gozo have to travel to Malta if they want to purchase it on a Sunday.
Malta’s sexual health crisis extends far beyond contraceptives, which can be inaccessible to those who can’t afford it.
Malta’s contraceptive crisis seems at odds with the country’s blanket ban on abortion. This could all be addressed in a fresh sexual health policy, which Health Minister Chris Fearne said will see a first draft come March 2021.
However, we don’t need to wait until then to address the contraceptive issue. The state needs to add it to its essential medicine list, which would ensure patients are aware of any shortages and ensure the government keeps up supply and keeps it free.
Lovin Malta will be discussing the nation’s sexual health crisis on Lovin Daily today with MMSA Sexual and Reproductive Health Officer Michaela Zammit at 10am.
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