International Day Of Action For Women's Health
Women's health matters! Women's health is a branch of modern science dedicated to improving women's physical and emotional well-being. Every year on May 28th, the world meets to observe the International Day of Action for Women's Health. International Women’s health day is a significant day that serves as a reminder of the importance of women's health and rights and the need for gender equality in healthcare systems worldwide. This blog will delve into the significance of this day and explore the crucial issues surrounding women's health. Many Indian women suffer from reproductive issues due to inadequate access to health care.
"Women's health is still under dim light." Women are subjected to various bodily changes right from birth. Women deal with triangular events in their lives that involve menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. The latest survey shows that women are uncomfortable expressing their reproductive health issues due to the societal stigmas around them, and that's why we consider the International Call for Action on Women's Health an opportunity to talk about the health concerns that women face in their everyday lives.
Equal healthcare access for women in India is still a distant reality- This International Women's health day 2023, let's be vocal and discuss the common health issues that women face in India:
- Malnutrition is a significant health concern that causes premature deaths and preterm deliveries due to the low intake of fruits and whole grains.
- Domestic violence is also a health issue because it has a massive impact on women's mental health, but it is often neglected. The problems such as dowry deaths, marital sexual abuse, and physical cruelty by husbands or relatives are still reported in high numbers, which is the root cause of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and depression in women.
- Emotional Abuse: Women always fall prey to many kinds of abuse. Emotional abuse such as verbal abuse, body shaming, criticism, isolating of women during menses, and insult for not having a child diminish women's self-esteem and affect their mental well-being.
Top 5 Health Diseases In Indian Women
The following are the top 5 health issue in women-
- Cancer – According to the latest WHO report, it is found that breast cancer and other gynecological cancers, such as cervical and ovarian cancer, are among the top leading cancers in India.
- Maternal Issues - The maternal mortality rate is still high in India; the UNICEF reports state that pregnancy-related complications are one of the leading causes of death among women.
- Infections: Due to poor installation of toiletries in rural regions, women are prone to get infected with bacterial genital infections.
- Sexually transmitted diseases: Due to limited awareness of safe sexual practices and the nature of the female reproductive system, such as the delicacy of the vaginal lining, makes women more vulnerable to contracting STDs like syphilis, gonorrhea, HIV, and chlamydia.
- Anemia- The National health survey- 5 reported that 57% of women are anemic between the ages of 15-49 due to vitamin B12, zinc, folic acids, and iron deficiency from the diet.
Factors Affecting Health And Hygiene In Women
- Cultural constraints: People still refuse to accept menstruation due to ancient generations' myths about menstruation.
- Poor socio-economic conditions: Several women in underprivileged categories suffer from maternal deaths due to the poor affordability of health services.
- Lack of education and stigma around sexual health: There is always a cloud of misconceptions about menstrual and sexual health. Compared to men, the literacy rate of females remains low in India.
- Inadequate health resources: It's alarming that only 36 percent of women in India use sanitary napkins.
Get Screened Promptly And Live Healthily
- For women between 20 – 30 years of age, it is vital to have annual health checkups that include complete blood counts to rule out anemia.
- Consider having annual cancer screening tests that include clinical breast and pelvic examinations.
- If you have a history or family history of Ovarian and breast cancer, have a mammogram annually or biennially.
- If you are at the age of above 15 years, get jabbed against HPV infection to prevent the risk of cervical cancer.
- Maintain a healthy BMI, and indulge in physical activity such as walking or yoga.
- If you are at an age above 40 years, keep track of your blood sugar levels and blood pressure to prevent diabetes and heart diseases.
- Since many postmenopausal women develop osteoporosis, it is advised to check for calcium and vitamin D levels and commence with the supplements if needed.
The Connection Between Women's Health and Women's Rights
Women's rights and women's health are inherently interconnected. Access to quality healthcare and making informed decisions about one's health are fundamental rights that every woman should enjoy. However, numerous challenges persist, including gender-based discrimination, limited access to healthcare services, and societal norms that hinder women's well-being.
Advancing Women's Rights
- Legal Reforms: Governments must enact and enforce laws that protect women's rights and address gender-based discrimination. This includes laws against domestic violence, sexual harassment, and gender-based crimes and policies promoting gender equality in education, employment, and political participation.
- Gender-Responsive Policies: Policymakers and institutions must adopt gender-responsive approaches to address women's needs and challenges. This involves integrating a gender perspective in policy formulation, budget allocation, and program implementation.
- Empowering Women and Girls: Empowerment programs that provide education, skills training, and economic opportunities can enhance women's agency and autonomy.
- Changing Societal Attitudes: Challenging deep-rooted gender stereotypes and promoting positive masculinity are essential for transforming societal norms and behaviors.
- Collaboration and Solidarity: Achieving gender equality requires the collective efforts of governments, civil society organizations, and individuals. Collaboration, networking, and sharing best practices can accelerate progress and amplify the voices of women's rights advocates.
Show Your Strength, Celebrate You Everyday By Staying Healthy
On International Women's Health Day 2023, advocate bodily autonomy for women, combat violence and abuse, and empower young women's health choices. Mobilize healthcare communities to serve rural areas and prioritize maternal and child nutrition. Break taboos, and encourage open discussions on feminine wellness.