In 2015 LGBTI+ Gozo issued the first press release asking for the creation of a GU Clinic; a Sexual health service in Gozo. We as an organisation feel that both as an LGBTI rights advocate and a Gozitan NGO it is our duty to voice our concern that this issue has been ignored and not taken seriously.
The access to basic health care is a fundamental right and a barrier for that access is a hindrance and breach to that basic right. Whilst we appreciate the work done by the Maltese GU Clinic service and also understand the lack of human resources in this department, we cannot excuse the impact it is leaving on society at large. We say society because LGBTI+ Gozo feels this issue is not a queer one but rather a general sexual health one and it is for this reason that we have united several Gozitan and Maltese organisations to support this declaration.
Whilst we acknowledge the challenges COVID 19 presents on our health system, and how our health system is serving the test of time, we also keep in mind that health is holistic, and there is no stopping of time on such.
We welcome the recent investment in the GU Clinic in Malta, and the announcement provision of certain GU services in Gozo, that suggest that through a new position within the GU Clinic in Malta there will be a GU Consultant at the GU Clinic in Malta, with responsibilities to have periodic visits in Gozo. However, several questions are still unanswered regarding this service such as the lack of detail regarding the frequency of the services, how testing will be handled, where it will be based and the procedure to be followed in case of emergency. This, together with the fact that the national sexual health strategy has been dormant for years, continues to assert that sexual health in Malta and Gozo is still not a priority.
The undersigned organisations urge the government to take concrete action on giving access to sexual health services in Gozo. It is of critical importance to have such a facility on the island of Gozo, this needs to be complemented with an awareness campaign for sexual health and sexual education within our peers.
We are making this declaration for one reason: to ensure that people in Gozo have direct access to primary sexual health care and to offer the best care equally offered on its sister island. Our country is proof that when there is political will, together we can do a lot. The undersigned organisations are joining together under one declaration to show support that this is not a queer issue but a national one, one which is not being taken seriously.