Analysis of historical and contemporary reproductive health issues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adolescents

This project sought to give an account of the methods by which the reproductive health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have had their reproductive health subject to colonial policies and control, particularly in view of the popular perception that they constituted a ‘dying race’. This project also describes how the inattention to the reproductive health needs of adolescents perpetuates the most insidious forms of structural violence.

The project examined the contemporary reproductive health issues for adolescents in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through analysing historical documents, conducting interviews with service providers and reviewing policy documents. A call to action was developed to assist young men and young women in particular to value and have every capacity to control their fertility.

Health promotion action was identified as a legitimate strategy to enhance reproductive health outcomes for vulnerable people in rural and remote area communities and to establish vital support mechanisms for at risk youths. The call to action could provide a framework through which health care providers can better reflect on their roles and responsibilities for individual, community and societal health.

The following are project outcomes: 

  • developed a Call to Action for the reproductive health of adolescent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people
  • the results of the research were presented at two major forums: the 16th National Health Promotion Conference held in Alice Springs on the 23–26 April 2006; and the Australian Federation of AIDS Councils and the AIDS Council of NSW Staff Training day in April 2007
  • a number of international, feminist media organisations ran a story about the findings of the project
  • this project seeded the Adolescent Fathers Project which was about the roles and responsibilities of Aboriginal adolescent fathers 
  • the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing has been in discussions with the project leader about the possibility of developing a national reproductive health strategy.
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