Director of Primary Health Care Dr Ertenisa Hamilton says services in sexual and reproductive health cannot be improved without ensuring men are involved in the process, as they can often be left out of the discussion.
Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Health at the launch of the EQUAL Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) project, Dr Hamilton noted that research done by the Ministry of Health showed hesitancy among men in accessing services because they did not feel it were available to them.
“A couple of years ago, we did a survey in which we were trying to understand what it is that was acting as a barrier to men accessing services. One of the things that was resounding among most of the men that were interviewed was the fact that they said most [of] the services were set up mainly for women.
They say from the time you enter most of the posters you see have a mother and a baby, a woman, a mom, and a lot of the information were directed towards women. They were saying that was their barrier from going for services. Now we realise that if you’re going to have a healthy population, it’s not only on an individual basis, but it has to do with the family.”
Minister of Human Services and Social Security Dr Vindhya Persaud noted that the Equal SRHR project, while primarily focused on improving the quality and accessibility of services to women and girls across different groups of society, will involve a holistic betterment of these services and, in turn, positively impact men and boys as well.
“I say boys and girls because, along this journey, it is essential that we cater for our boys, who will definitely engage the attention of our girls and vice versa. When we address sexual and reproductive health in our country, it is imperative that we not only focus on the formal avenues of getting education and awareness out there, but we must also look for creative areas where we can educate the people across our country.”
Dr Hamilton went on to share some statistics on the life expectancy for men and women in Guyana over the past few years.
“Our life expectance for the country has moved from 67 in the year 2017 to 70 in the year 2022. The life expectancy between men and women are different. Where we had, in 2017, men life expectancy being 63.5, women were at 68.5. For 2022, the life expectancy for men remains the same. However, the life expectancy for women has increased to 71 years.”
Persons who are experiencing Gender-based violence or know of someone being abused are urged to dial the 914 hotline.