COVID-19: pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding – statements & guidance

Various sources, March 2020

FGM researcher says midwives are the frontline of Australia’s fight against the practice

ABC Radio Sydney, 6/2/2020

For Western Sydney University researcher Olayide Ogunsiji, female genital mutilation was so prevalent where she grew up in Nigeria, her own cutting was never questioned. When her daughter was born, there was every chance her child would have also undergone the traumatic practice if not for the education Dr Ogunsiji received in antenatal care. 

Key points:

  • Female genital mutilation/cutting refers to procedures that removed or injured female genital organs for non-medical reasons
  • The practice is illegal in Australia but roughly 53,000 women have been living with female genital mutilation in Australia
  • Antenatal clinics were often on the frontline of helping these women, but one expert said staff needed more specialised training to be better equipped in dealing with these patients

Sexual health and its linkages to reproductive health: an operational approach

 World Health Organization, 2017

Sexual health and reproductive health are closely linked, but crucial aspects of sexual health can be overlooked when grouped under or together with the domain of reproductive health.

In order to create broader awareness of comprehensive sexual health interventions and to ensure that sexual health and reproductive health both receive full attention in programming (including provision of health services) and research, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reviewed its working definition of sexual health to create a framework for an operational approach to sexual health.

The framework, which is intended to support policy-makers and programme implementers and to provide a stronger foundation for further research and learning in sexual health, is presented and described in full in this brief.

Increased screening for syphilis and HIV in SA – new advice for clinicians (video)

SHINE SA,  

SHINE SA have released a short video resource for health professionals providing advice on the current syphilis outbreak in South Australia.

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It presents a serious public health issue as it causes harm to the developing foetus and increases the transmission and acquisition of HIV.

The 5 minute video SA Syphilis Outbreak – Advice for Clinicians urges health professionals to be aware that syphilis is increasing rapidly in SA and that there is a need to respond with increased screening.

Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice

Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Bangkok: July 2019

The resource “Blueprint for  Sexual and Reproductive  Health, Rights, and Justice” has just been released by Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, and endorsed by multiple international organisations. 

While it focuses on US policy environ, it is more broadly applicable: in particular the focus on sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice – as well as the intersections with numerous other issues such as  gender equity, racial equity, economic justice, environmental justice, the right to community safety, immigrants’ rights, indigenous people’s rights, LGBTQ+ liberation, young people’s rights, and the rights of people with disabilities.

Because sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice intersect with numerous other issues, policy solutions must also seek to further gender equity, racial equity, economic justice, environmental justice, the right to community safety, immigrants’
rights, indigenous people’s rights, LGBTQ+ liberation, young people’s rights, and the rights of people with disabilities.

  • Principle 1: Ensure that Sexual and Reproductive Health Care is Accessible to All People
  • Principle 2: Ensure Discriminatory Barriers in Health Care are Eliminated
  • Principle 3: Ensure that Research and Innovation Advance Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Now and in the Future
  • Principle 4: Ensure Health, Rights, Justice, and Wellness for All Communities
  • Principle 5: Ensure Judges and Executive Officials Advance Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice

Sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice are essential for sustainable economic development, are intrinsically linked to equity and well-being, and are
critical to maternal, newborn, child, adolescent, family, and community health.
Health care cannot truly be comprehensive if it does not include sexual and reproductive health

The time for action on Human T-Lymphotrophic Virus has arrived: An open letter to WHO

Australasian Society for HIV Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM), 10 May 2018

ASHM has joined the call by leading Human T-Lymphotrophic Virus 1 (HTLV-1) researchers, clinicians and patients to take action on HTLV-1 by signing an open letter to the WHO, published in an abbreviated form in The Lancet. The letter calls on the WHO to support the promotion of proven, effective transmission prevention strategies for HTLV-1, in much the same way it already does for HIV, HBV and HCV.

ASHM established an 2016, to bring together researches, clinicians and community representatives at an annual round table to raise awareness of HTLV-1 and share the latest information. Up to 40% of the  HTLV-1 working group ipopulation of some Central Australian communities are positive for HTLV-1, which can cause cancer, neurological problems and immune disorders, including chronic lung inflammation leading to bronchiectasis.

“Specifically for Australia, we have all of the key components required for an effective response to this virus – indigenous clinical leadership; the medical research skills and capacity; and two forthcoming developments in treatment and vaccine development,” said Professor Damian Purcell, Head of Molecular Virology Laboratory, The University of Melbourne at the Doherty Institute and member of the ASHM HTLV-1 working group.

“But we need the support of the WHO and Australian Government to accelerate research and implement these strategies.”

ASHM have been advocating for the inclusion of HTLV-1 in the yet-to-be released Fifth National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Blood-Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections Strategy as a Priority Action.

Read the full letter available on the Global Virus Network website