OTTAWA, June 16, 2011 /CNW/ - A new joint policy statement affirming the
sexual and reproductive health rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis
women and youth has been produced through the work of five national
organizations, as well as being endorsed by an additional eight. This
statement, "Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights, Realities and Access
to Services for First Nations, Inuit and Métis People in Canada," was
published in the June issue of the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada.
"In Canada, Aboriginal women experience a disproportionately high rate
of adverse health outcomes, such as STIs, complications in pregnancy
and delivery, teenage pregnancies, and sexual violence," says Dr. Don
Wilson, co-chair of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of
Canada's (SOGC) Aboriginal Health Initiative Committee, which
coordinated the production of this important statement. "To address
this, we need to reduce inequities in the availability and
accessibility of sexual and reproductive services. Part of this means
delivering care that is culturally safe; this is crucial to optimal
health and well-being for any population."
Providing culturally-safe care in this context involves adapting
practices and programs to suit the particular needs of Aboriginal
women, including respect for their unique needs, interests, health
beliefs and behaviours.
The five partners involved in the production of this statement are the
SOGC, the Assembly of First Nations, the Canadian Federation for Sexual
Health, Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada and the Native Youth Sexual
Health Network. Additional organizations which have endorsed the
statement are the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada, the Canadian Association of
Perinatal and Women's Health Nurses, the Canadian Association of
Midwives, the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives, the College of
Family Physicians of Canada, the Canadian Medical Association, the
Society of Rural Physicians of Canada, and the Royal College of
Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
"This is an important step in raising awareness among health-care
professionals, many of whom work with Aboriginal women and youth, about
sexual and reproductive health rights and realities," says Dr. André
Lalonde, executive vice-president of the SOGC. "It also provides a
common starting point for organizations to move forward in the
development of accessible, culturally-relevant public health materials
and youth-driven, community-based projects."
Recommendations outlined in this statement include the need for
health-care providers, organizations, and political and community
leaders across Canada to advocate awareness of sexual and reproductive
health rights; advise the Government of Canada to act on and implement
the recommendations of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples; develop cultural competence among health-care providers;
support the development of a federal-provincial-territorial Aboriginal
birthing strategy, promote awareness and understanding of Non-Insured
Health Benefits (NIHB) for First Nations and Inuit among health-care
providers; and promote changes to NIHB policies to increase access to
emergency and alternative contraceptives, counselling on sexual and
mental health, and midwifery; and to encourage a return of traditional
birthing to communities.
The statement was published in advance of National Aboriginal Day on
June 21, when the SOGC will host an International Indigenous Women's
Health Symposium at its Annual Clinical Meeting in Vancouver, attended
by nearly 700 health-care professionals. As part of this event, the
SOGC will also be launching a new website with resources for the
promotion of Aboriginal sexual health.
About the SOGC
The SOGC is one of Canada's oldest national specialty organizations.
Established in 1944, the Society's mission is to promote excellence in
the practice of obstetrics and gynaecology and to advance the health of
women through leadership, advocacy, collaboration, outreach and
education. The SOGC represents obstetricians/ gynaecologists, family
physicians, nurses, midwives and allied health professionals working in
the field of sexual reproductive health. For more information, visit www.sogc.org.
SOURCE Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
For further information:
Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Tel: (613) 730-4192 or Toll-free: 1-800-561-2416, ext. 366