The Malta Independent 5 December 2021, Sunday

If elected to government, PN pledges ‘strong revamp’ of sexual health policy within six months

Thursday, 21 October 2021, 12:50 Last update: about 2 months ago

The Nationalist Party today pledged a “strong revamp” to the current ten-year-old sexual health policy within six months, if elected to government.

The party also promised free contraception and the morning after pill in a press conference on Thursday.

In his address, PN candidate Ian Vassallo said that the PN will proritise this “worrying challenge” of an ever increasing “silent epidemic” of STIS and STDS and that this wouldn’t be solved taking a “one man” approach.

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He said the PN will endeavour to increase human resources in this sector, outsourcing private health sector professionals and provide mobile primary health care clinics.

Additionally, Vassallo noted that the PN will endeavour to end the “stigma” of Malta’s GU clinic in order to ensure much needed regular screenings for STDS and STIS.

He remarked that the Labour government had “failed” to take Malta’s sexual health seriously despite having an eight-year-long chance to do so.

Moreover, he noted that the PN will develop a national sex campaign, ensuring that it is taught in schools, to develop more “openness” in sexual health discussion to address the poor accessibility and mental health support for sexual health victims.

On her part, MZPN secretary-general and PN candidate Emma Portelli Bonnici said that the government cannot use the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse. Noting the continued increase of unwanted pregnancies in Malta, she said that the government had eight years to tackle this issue.

She said that the PN’s strategy will include LGBTQIs as well as people having a disability to ensure a holistic approach and that it would also the morning after pill to rape victims at Mater Dei Hospital.

She noted that Malta had one of the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases along with one of the lowest uses of contraception used by men.

On his part, PN spokseman for health Stephen Spiteri said that not only had the government not invested in this “silent epidemic” hitting the country, but that they were throwing money that they could use towards sexual health sector on deals like the 20 million Vitals concession that is not yielding any “positive results”.

He noted that the “alarming” increase of STDS and STIS currently at approximately five per month, not only had a medical impact on the individual but also on socioeconomic grounds.

“We need to tackle the taboo surrounding sexual health,” stated Spiteri, noting that only 2% of the population is going to the Genitourinary (GU) clinic for screening.

Asked whether abortion would be included as part of the PN’s sexual health policy, Spiteri said that the subject should be discussed in parliament but that the PN continue to be pro-life.

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