UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency has partnered with the Hulhumale’ Hospital to establish a one stop centre to provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services especially for adolescents, young people, women and girls. This is an important milestone for Maldives to reduce unmet need for contraception; reduce preventable maternal deaths; and reduce gender-based violence and harmful practices, such as child marriage and female genital mutilation. It is a first of its kind centre to provide adolescent reproductive health services within one location, in Hulhumale’ .
This Centre, officially launched on the 13th of October 2021, was made possible through generous aid from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT/AUSAID). The Reproductive Health Centre will offer people-centred, youth-focused comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services spanning from conception, pregnancy, childbirth, newborn care, adolescent health, response to gender based violence and ageing population.
It is noteworthy that this centre provides essential reproductive health services to adolescents, particularly young women and girls, those with disabilities and other marginalised groups - ensuring that they are not forgotten during service provision. As the Maldives need to address the high unmet need for family planning as well as advocacy for SRH services to reach more young people, people centred services are an essential promise made by the national delegation during the Nairobi Summit of 2019, to reach the 2030 sustainable development goals and to attain the unfinished business of the programme of action of International Conference on Population and Development. As such, it is vital that we facilitate and expand SRH services in the future, ensuring that no one in the community is left behind. Sexual reproductive health is an essential element of progressive development and the right to bodily autonomy - especially for adolescents, young women and girls in planning out their own life path.
Covid-19 pandemic has reminded us that sexual reproductive health services are essential and must be prioritized even amidst humanitarian situations. This concerted effort led by the Hulhumale’ Hospital with support from UNFPA is a milestone under the National Strategic Action plan (SAP) and the road towards recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. UNFPA strives to support the government’s efforts to strengthen the sexual reproductive health programme in the Maldives, including providing technical support to building capacity of health professionals, public health workers and undertaking research. We require urgent policy advocacy and analysis to address the challenges to ensure those who are furthest left behind are brought to the centre.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).