Want to find out what Malta’s sexual health policy is? Well, the last time it was officially updated was 10 whole years ago, under a different government.
The document, The National Sex Health Policy For The Maltese Islands, was published in 2010 and includes definitions for sexual health, legislation, a mandate for sexual education in schools and the provision of reproductive health services in a “one-stop-shop” at Mater Dei’s GU clinic among other issues.
The following year, a national sex health strategy was launched dealing with sexual health promotion education, sexual healthcare services, rights and responsibilities and research and surveillance.
In 2018, the Women’s Rights Foundation had launched a position paper to update sexual and reproductive rights urging for the revision of the national sexual health strategy “to reflect legal and societal changes occurring since 2011”.
They called for sexual and reproductive health services through a number of community-based clinics to provide gender and age-appropriate services and those that reach marginalised groups, more access to a wide range of contraceptives and the elimination of practical, financial and legal restrictions, namely for young people and those on low incomes.
They also called for the legalisation of abortion through all Malta’s public health systems.
The paper was not brought to formal discussions.
Parliamentary Secretary for Equality & Reforms Rosianne Cutajar told Lovin Malta that a new sexual health policy is in the works for the end of the year.
She said the debate on whether the contraceptive pill should be on the list of essential medicines will be addressed in a new sexual health policy to be launched this year. Adding contractive pills on the government’s formulary list of essential medicines should help prevent shortages, of which women in Malta reported several brands going out of stock even before the pandemic.
“As Parliamentary Secretary responsible for equality, I have already kick-started an internal consultation on a gender equality mainstreaming strategy for government,” she said.
The Junior Minister said the strategy is being finalised with feedback from other Ministries.
“For our new Sexual Health Policy to be a success, it must reflect the needs and realities of society,” she continued. “We need a proactive and open approach to sexual health, not a prohibitive one.”