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Women’s Healthcare Falls Behind

By Miriam Bello | Fri, 11/27/2020 - 16:52

Mexico would need to assign at least 5 percent of its GDP to healthcare expenditure to guarantee equal, discrimination-free healthcare access and the proper tools for ensuring a healthy life, according to the UN Women Summit. Speakers highlighted that Mexico keeps separating women from the “regular” workforce so they can focus on unpaid family care.

A Global Coalition on Aging study reported that current health systems lack understanding on women’s healthcare, lacking adequate screening and prevention programs and providing inadequate support for women. Current health systems have disparities in access to healthcare and heathy lifestyles leading women to suffer from an unequal burden of certain age-related diseases.

Women are often the primary caregivers of children and adults, besides having a formal job, but their role is often disregarded and diminished. In places like Japan, women make up 70 percent of the caregiver force, focusing on this almost all day. This type of care often provides no economic remuneration. In addition, women are often their families’ decision-makers on matters regarding healthcare.

Gender influences many health outcomes for women, from the way they live, to their day-to-day, according to a study by Salud Pública México. The report states women believe their health is closely linked to their ability to carry out daily functions. Women also suffer more often from mental health issues linked to discrimination, sexual harassment, physical and psychological violence, low social status and an inadequately paid job. WHO has also recognized that women’s health is specially concerning in many societies as girls and women find themselves at a disadvantage due to discrimination.

Salud Pública México stresses the importance of eradicating gender inequality to make healthcare programs more effective. Moreover, it urges Mexico to create policies that respond to the real conformation of Mexican society. Women in Mexico, says Salud Pública México, are recognized socially above all for their reproductive capabilities, leading women’s healthcare to focus more on the control and supervision of this function at the states of pregnancy, childbirth and the puerperium. However, services are prone to contradictions as despite the focus on reproduction-related issued, each year many women suffer and die from complications during pregnancy and childbirth. This is caused by a lack of resources for better care, inaccessibility to healthcare services, lack of economic resources and social support and lack of information.

AMIIF’s recommendations to improve women’s health include:

  • Supporting research to better understand the health needs and risks of women throughout their life.
  • Providing educational resources so women can make healthier choices throughout their lives, supporting prevention and promotion of healthy aging.
  • Training for healthcare providers and education for caregivers on the provision of integrated and person-centered care.
  • Implementing national programs for the detection and prevention of conditions that particularly affect and/or are underdiagnosed in elderly women and that today are often ignored until an acute event.

Aside from this, UN Women Mexico and Salud Pública México conclude that breaking gender determination and empowering women are fundamental to change this scenario. To achieve this, it is necessary to develop and manage key concepts such as patriarchy, gender, ethnicity, social classes and sexuality and opening spaces for discussion and analysis of women's health problems.

Photo by:   Frederick Magazine
Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst