Purpose and Priorities

CERSH Purpose

The purpose of the Centre is to design, implement and evaluate programs that provide practical solutions for the improvement of sexual and reproductive health in both the Hume and Loddon Mallee regions in rural Victoria.

In achieving this, the Centre’s priority areas are focused on:

  1. Rural Workforce
  2. Leadership, research, evaluation and knowledge sharing
  3. Affordable reproductive health
  4. Transition to the new National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP)

CERSH Strategic Objectives

Rural Workforce

  1. Support workforce (health, education, youth, local council, pharmacy) capacity to promote ‘respectful, safe sexual relationships and reproductive choices’.
  2. Support clinical workforce and interagency capacity to focus on and deliver STI/BBV prevention, testing, management and care to priority populations.
  3. Build knowledge dissemination strategies using information and communications technology to ensure rural workers access to resources.

Leadership, research, evaluation and knowledge sharing

  1. Provide rural and regional sexual health leadership through participation in Statewide, National and International collaborations.
  2. Provide consultation and advice to other rural regions aspiring to replicate successful CERSH initiatives.
  3. Research to understand the systems, stakeholders and contexts that play a role in contributing to the sexual health of rural Victorians, with particular focus on priority groups.
  4. Evaluate / review sexual health promotion strategies in rural Victoria.
  5. Provide systems that promote efforts to collect and share data, knowledge and resources in order to maximise collective impact.

Affordable reproductive health

  1. Continue partnership work with a range of organisations and practitioners, (both local and statewide), to improve:
    • access to contraception and medical termination of pregnancy (MTOP) services,
    • quality of support (empathy, privacy, discretion) for women in Hume and Loddon Mallee regions
  2. Collaborate with statewide services and Primary Health Networks (PHNs) to provide locally based training for health practitioners, health and community workers.
  3. Provide practical follow up support and advocacy to establish local MTOP service models.
  4. Support the rural workforce to promote community awareness of MTOP availability.

Transition to the new National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP)

  1. Support transition for rural health practitioners, including ACCHOs, in the Hume and Loddon Mallee regions to the renewed NCSP.
  2. Address the reduced opportunity for sexual health consultation, STI testing and treatment with the change from two yearly to five yearly cervical screening.
  3. Support workforce capacity to promote the NCSP and the ongoing importance of STI prevention and regular sexual health checkups.