October 20, 2014

Parenthood body wants healthy conversation on sexuality

Health Minister Dr Bheri Ramsammy with GRPA President Pamela Nauth and Human Services and Social Security Ministry Permanent Secretary Patrick Findlay cutting the 40th anniversary cake on Friday

Health Minister Dr Bheri Ramsammy with GRPA President Pamela Nauth and Human Services and Social Security Ministry Permanent Secretary Patrick Findlay cutting the 40th anniversary cake on Friday

The Guyana Respon-sible Parenthood Association (GRPA) is working to strengthen engagement with schools and community organisations to encourage a shift to a more healthy conversation on sexuality.

The organisation in a release said it is seeking to promote age appropriate sexuality education, one that celebrates sexuality and fosters a sexual ethic, which is focused more on personal relationships and social justice rather than particular sexual acts.

“One of the biggest misconceptions that people have of sexuality education is that if you provide this kind of education to an adolescent, they are going to want to have sex earlier. But this is not the case. Rather, it has been noted that adolescents and youths who are better educated on these issues are likely to delay their sexual initiation and be better able to make wise choices. They are also likely to not suffer the same consequences as those who lack this vital information and support,” GRPA Executive Director, Reverend Patricia Sheerattan-Bisnauth said.

She expressed this view at the GRPA 40th Annual General Meeting held on Friday at the Regency Suites Hotel, Hadfield Street, Georgetown.

Health Minister, Dr Bheri Ramsarran congratulated the organisation which was as born out of the womb of the struggle for gender justice and equality, which began in the pre and early independent era in Guyana.

He spoke about efforts made by the Health Ministry to address maternal mortality and recognised the important role of civil society organisations.

Essential policy

The Health Ministry in collaboration with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is developing a Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) policy for Guyana. SRH is fundamental to the health and well-being of all persons and essential to a fit and productive society.

It is elemental to a healthy life and has an impact on sustainable development as it affects the most essential of a nation’s resources, its human capital, the GRPA said.

There is a close link between SRH and Gender Based Violence (GBV). Dr Ramsaran called on the GRPA to expand its services to rural and hinterland communities and to engage in widespread, education and awareness on SRH and GBV.

The GRPA was established in 1973 with the primary aim of enabling women to have access to family planning information and services and to lift up this issue as important for Guyana.

Its first executive director and founder, Olga Byrne, holds a significant place in the history of the women’s rights movement in Guyana.

The GRPA has since expanded its focus to include a broader and more comprehensive approach to sexual and reproductive health.  In October, the organisation launched the International Professional Practices Framework (IPPF) Vision 2020, which has 10 action points to advance the sexual and reproductive health and rights agenda. This includes recognising sexual rights as human rights and increasing access to family planning and SRH education.

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