The Nationalist Party is working on an “ambitious” sexual health strategy aimed at reforming public health policy, a spokesperson said.

Party leader Bernard Grech has already proposed that contraceptives should become available for free.

Elaborating on the PN’s stance in opposition to a private member’s bill seeking to decriminalise abortion, on Sunday Grech said that while the party believed in protecting human life from conception, it could not ignore the plight of women who seek abortion services and assistance in terminating a pregnancy.

Grech said that contraceptives like condoms and the morning after pill should be available for free.

“Malta urgently needs an upgraded sexual health policy to limit disease and extend access to treatment. An effective sexual health strategy elevates quality of life and eases pressure on the national health service,” a spokesperson for the party said.

Services need to reflect contemporary lifestyles

“The PN is working on an ambitious reform based on prevention and awareness to reverse the rising rate of infections. Individuals at risk must have access to effective medication while screening methods and services need to reflect contemporary lifestyles.

“The plan rethinks the sexual health strategy by anticipating risk and bringing care services closer to individuals.”

Among the PN’s recommendations will be contraception available free of charge to any person over 16 years and accessible in post-secondary schools, university and places of entertainment, as well as from health centres and public hospitals.

“The PN also maintains that the number of GU clinics in the country should be increased, together with another in Gozo, through their incorporation within health centres or public hospitals, and should be strengthened through added investment in human resources, including professionals,” the party said.

Making contraceptives available to students, particularly at educational institutions, has traditionally been a taboo topic, with a heated fight to have a condom machine installed at the University of Malta raging for two decades and only being resolved as recently as 2015, when one was installed.

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