2 Jan 2011

Concern at delay in effective sexual health strategy

8:23 am on 2 January 2011

A national health group says New Zealand is unusual among like-minded nations in that it does not have a national sexual and reproductive health strategy.

Family Planning chief executive Jackie Edmond says a strategy was drafted in 2001 but almost no action has followed.

Ms Edmond says that is ironic, given New Zealand's very high rates of sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) and teenage pregnancies.

"We've got major issues in New Zealand around high rates of teenage pregnancy, high STIs and New Zealanders deserve to have something done about those areas."

Ms Edmond says health agencies have no clear direction about what could work and health funding may be wasted as a result.

The Ministry of Health says it does have a programme of work under way, based on the 2001 strategy, and has established a steering group to lead the development of a new programme before 2013.