In late April, the second iteration of our regional sexual and reproductive health strategy for Melbourne’s west, Action for Equity, was launched by the Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy MP.
People, and in particular women, in the western region of Melbourne have poorer sexual and reproductive health outcomes when compared to other regions in Victoria. This is particularly the case in relation to sexually transmitted infections, teenage fertility, and cervical screening rates. Despite this, and our rapid population growth out west, our region still lacks a dedicated sexual health clinical service.
This newly-launched strategy is designed to improve sexual and reproductive health outcomes for communities in the west in a coordinated way, to increase impact throughout the region. It was developed by the Action for Equity partnership, led by WHW, and other key experts. The other 15 partners cover a wide range of health and community services – including community health, and local and state government, among others. Action for Equity has also been influenced by current state and federal policies, including Victoria’s first ever sexual and reproductive health strategy, launched by Minister Hennessy last year.
Action for Equity’s first strategy ran from 2013-2017. It was visionary and ambitious. It was instrumental in supporting partners to align their efforts to improve sexual and reproductive health in Melbourne’s west under a common agenda. And it enabled them to identify shared measures of success, drawing on the diverse expertise of a range of sectors.
The new strategy, Action for Equity 2018-2022, is as bold and impressive as the first, and we are looking forward to it having an even greater impact on our community across the next four years. Melbourne’s west is one of Victoria’s most vibrant and diverse regions, and our goal is to achieve the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health for everyone in our community.