PN says sexual health policy needs urgent revision

The Nationalist Party says Malta's sexual health policy needs to be urgently revised to prevent high levels of sexually transmitted diseases

The Nationalist Party's health spokesperson Stephen Spiteri has called for the urgent revision of Malta's sexual health policy, accusing the government of failing to invest in preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). 

Speaking during a press conference on Tuesday, Spiteri said that Malta desperately needs more vital sexual health education in schools to prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancies.

Recently, Health Minister Chris Fearne admitted that a new sexual health policy was sent back to the drawing board because it was based on 12-year-old studies.

The Health Minister said the policy would not be ready before next year. The current sexual health policy was drawn up 11 years ago, and the government has long promised an updated version to reflect modern-day realities.

In 2020 it was revealed that 75% still don’t use condoms. A study conducted the year prior in 2019 also found that Malta has the second-highest rate of syphilis in Europe.

Reacting to the budget dedicated to the health sector, Spiteri said the government formulary list of medicines needed an upgrade. However, he said that when it came to holistic care, it went beyond just adding new medicines to the list. 

Specifically mentioning those who have fibromyalgia, he said that there needed to be dedicated pain clinics and monetary benefits to help these patients and those suffering from other chronic diseases.

Also in attendance, MP Mario Galea highlighted that Malta needed to discuss mental health and its stigma. "There is no health without mental health," he said. 

Galea also said that front-liners must be given mental health support, as many might be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from the pandemic. The MP said that in the US and UK, depression tripled during COVID-19.   

Government silence on Stewart Health Care scandal 'shocking' - Adrian Delia

Former PN leader Adrian Delia criticized the government over its silence in the wake of revelations that Stewart Health Care, the health provider that runs three State hospitals granted on concession, has told a court that the deal with Vitals was mired in fraud and corruption.  

"The government has tried to keep these documents a secret, and yet when they are outed, it remains silent," Delia said. 

Delia accused Fearne of deceiving the public by allocating an extra €20 million in the budget for the hospital concessions in Gozo and Karin Grech and described this as an "investment in the three hospitals." 

"What Fearne did not tell the government was that this €20 million goes straight into the pocket of Steward Health Care whether they invest it in the hospital or not," Delia said.