To improve sexual and reproductive health outcomes for women living and working in the northern metropolitan region, Women’s Health in the North is working to improve regional integration, practice and approaches to the field of sexual and reproductive health.
In December 2018, Women’s Health In the North (WHIN) established the Going South In the North Sexual and Reproductive Health Community of Practice, to bring together those working in sexual and reproductive health in the northern metropolitan region (NMR) using the online platform, Basecamp. In order to provide face-to-face connection and active networking for those involved in the community of practice, the Going South in the North Sexual and Reproductive Health Forum was hosted by WHIN. This forum offered sexual and reproductive health professionals who work in the NMR the opportunity to hear from experts in the field including The Royal Women's Hospital, 1800 MyOptions, Cancer Council Victoria and Women with Disabilities Victoria.
The forum also provided the space for rigorous and insightful discussion about the barriers and enablers in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) work, and to share ideas about the application of evidence-based practice and programs. Professional development and sector updates were interspersed with creative networking activities that encouraged attendees to connect with their peers, share innovative ideas and to develop new partnerships.
As a result of the forum ‘Accesex’, a partnership between Women’s Health In the North and Women with Disabilties Victoria, has been established. Accesex provides training and other relevant capacity building activities with health services to improve attitudes and actions for ensuring access and inclusion of women with disabilities within sexual and reproductive health settings. In addition, Accesex aims to support evidence based, disability-inclusive practice in sexual and reproductive health as well as incorporate an intersectional focus and reflect diversity in sexual and reproductive health needs of women in the community. Accesex workshops will be held in the NMR throughout 2020.
This work is part of the broader A Strategy for Going South in the North 2016–2021 which aims to increase individual and organisational sexual and reproductive health knowledge, attitudes and capacity.
WHIN believes that all women have the right to optimal sexual and reproductive health. This includes the freedom to express their sexuality and to choose if, when and how they reproduce, access to affordable sexual and reproductive health services and to experience safe, respectful intimacy and relationships. It is important that anyone providing SRH education or clinical services to women apply this thinking to the everyday practice.
WHIN has produced a range of Sexual and Reproductive Health Factsheets for the NMR to provide up-to-date regional sexual and reproductive health data to inform the work of all health planners and professionals in the region. Go to the website to access these fantastic resources.