A new website is up and running that’s devoted solely to the gynecological health of the country’s indigenous women, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) announced on National Aboriginal Day, June 21.
“It’s a new way that we can share what we’re doing and what we’re learning with our members, other health-care professionals and our partners, as well as Aboriginal women, their families and their communities,” said Sandra de la Ronde, co-chair of the Aboriginal Health Initiative Committee, in the SOGC statement announcing the site, Aboriginal Sexual Health.
The launch kicked off the SOGC’s annual meeting, which took place from June 21–25 in Vancouver and starting with an International Indigenous Women's Health Symposium.
"All cultures have their own takes on reproductive health, having children, family life," de la Ronde told the Canadian Press. "Each culture has its own sort of special importance and ceremony around it, and so this will provide a place where non-aboriginals but also aboriginals can learn more about cultural practices."
Starting with a medicine-wheel logo as the center, sections for health care providers, aboriginal women themselves, partners and resources radiate out from there. Each section is loaded with information that is culturally sensitive and addresses issues that mainstream sex-ed sites might not. SOGC’s site sexualityandU.ca, which deals with all Canadians, provides more information, plus videos on everything from how to put on a condom to issues about lesbians and STDs.
The section geared toward women and their families includes a wealth of information on everything from what a gynecological exam is like, to fact sheets on Inuit and cancer, from Inuit Tapirit Kanatami (ITK), the advocacy group for Inuit people.
“The homepage features a medicine wheel, a First Nation sacred teaching, which we chose as our centre image because it symbolizes the cycle of life and how everything in life is connected,” said Don Wilson, chair of the SOGC's aboriginal health initiatives committee in the statement. “It is symbolic of harmony, balance and an inclusive place for everyone and we felt it is fitting for the objectives of this site.”