The Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) has welcomed Queensland Minister for Health Cameron Dick’s recent announcement that the Queensland Government is to establish a new Sexual Health Ministerial Advisory Committee to support the implementation of Queensland’s new Sexual Health Strategy 2016-2021.
QAIHC CEO Matthew Cooke said the Minister’s announcement was timely, given the well-documented increase in HIV diagnosis and resulting deaths impacting a growing number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families in Queensland, particularly in the north of the state.
He added that it was imperative there be appropriate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation on the advisory committee and a concerted commitment to enabling more community control of sexual health matters in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
“In having a voice on the committee, it is more likely that the concerns of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will be heard and their needs reflected through more effective policy advice to the government on the range of current and emerging sexual health issues being experienced across our communities,” Mr Cooke said.
He said it was encouraging that the Minister had communicated his anticipation that the Queensland Sexual Health Strategy would “result in a diverse, community-led and community-based model for the delivery of sexual and reproductive health service”.
“The fact the new Strategy requires hospital and health services to partner with Aboriginal and Islander Community Controlled Sectors as key stakeholders in the provision of comprehensive sexual health and reproductive health programs and activities is certainly one QAIHC fully supports,” Mr Cooke added.