International Women’s Day is observed annually on 8th March all over the world to celebrate the economic, social, political, and cultural achievements of women. This day also marks the call to action to accelerate gender parity.
The International Women’s Day 2021 theme – ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.’ – The theme celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Besides all other aspects of women’s achievements, International Women’s Day also aims to empower women worldwide in the domain of healthcare.
International Women’s Day and Healthcare
This year, let us turn attention to these top issues concerning women’s health –
Cancer – Cervical cancer and breast cancer are the two most common types of cancer prevalent among women. Early detection of these diseases is the key to ensuring good health and safe recovery. The recent global statistics show that each year nearly half a million of the female population worldwide die from cervical and breast cancers. The majority of deaths take place in middle and low-income countries, where prevention, treatment, and screening are almost non-existent.
Maternal Health – Several women have benefitted from improvements in healthcare during childbirth and pregnancy. However, unfortunately, these benefits have not reached everywhere. In 2013, reportedly, 3Lakhs women died from childbirth and pregnancy-related complications. Most of these deaths could have been averted only if women and families had access to proper family planning and some basic healthcare services.
Mental Health – Research shows that women are more likely to experience mental health problems, like depression and anxiety. In fact, depression is the most common of all mental health issues affecting women, often leading to suicide – another major cause of death among elderly women, below 60 years. Therefore, it is important to help sensitize women to various mental health conditions and provide them with the confidence to seek help.
Non-communicable Diseases – An estimated 4.7 million women died in 2012 from non-communicable diseases – obesity, alcohol abuse, tobacco and drugs – before the age of 70. Most of these cases were reported in middle and low-income countries. Helping young women and girls adopt healthy lifestyle changes is the key to a healthy and long life.