I was very pleasantly surprised when at the beginning of this survey, nearly 50% of those who responded, wrote back on the need to increase awareness about women’s health issues. Surprise because I feel that is sure a step in the right direction. Nearly 11 years ago I remember, women’s health was an oft ignored issue and almost never spoken about.
Women by the sheer nature of their positioning in our society are almost born with the idea of serving for overall good without worrying about their ownself. They are taught not to complain about ailment, not to want having good food and even at times deprive themselves of the basic necessities. And this is not just a rural issue.
Malnutrition and its many related evils is one of the most common problem that women in India. Be it in rural or urban India, prenatal care during pregnancy, overall dietary allocation and general awareness about nutritional values is still at miniscule levels. Needless to mention the problem acquires even a greater stature where the relative illiteracy among women is higher and in rural areas shrouded with superstitions and misconception.
Lack of proper hygiene and sanitation further worsens the health issues. In adequate toilets in many regions necessitates them to compromise on the both the privacy and safety aspects many a times. It also makes them more vulnerable to contracting infectious diseases like Dengue, malaria and the like.
Social beliefs too play a crucial role. The high rate of infant mortality in rural areas and women going through the trauma of multiple pregnancies within a short period puts their health under pressure. Often the damage done is irrevocable and care is quite little and scant if at all. In sufficient post natal care also has a bearing on the health of future children that the women might bear.
Inadequate health care facilities and badly equipped health care centres also plays a very important role. The time perhaps has come for the Govt to undertake several result based steps for long-term benefits. Implementation of health care programmes and health insurances still remain a grey area.
As we close the curtain on the 9-days of Devi worship rendezvous, let’s pledge to insure the health of our women folk in a way that was never envisaged thus far.