The Bold Voice of J&K

Taking care of women’s health

50

Dear Editor,
Women’s health is affecting every aspect of life and large-scale women-centric research surveys are needed to assess it. But according to what is estimated so far, there is an urgent need to improve the health infrastructure keeping women in mind. The participation of women in the total workforce of the country is talked about every year. It is openly told that the women of the country in economic matters are victim of discrimination. The issue of women not getting equal rights in the society has been going on for decades, but there is not much discussion about their health. According to a survey, there are signs of the population of women in the country exceeding that of men. In such a situation, even as largest section of the country’s population, the health of women must be monitored. The fact is shocking that every second woman in the country is suffering from anemia and every third woman has a low body mass index. One-fourth of the total population women suffer from malnutrition are. Despite all the promises and claims after that, if this condition occurs, then we need to be alert about the health of women. Several surveys have revealed that women get less nutrition than men. A major reason for this was also considered to be our male dominated social system. Due to the pressure of saving in families with limited income, boys are usually given more nutritious food than girls. According to ‘Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey 2019’ before corona epidemic during corona period, the situation got worse. According to a study by the Tata Cornell Institute for Agriculture and Nutrition, the nutritional diet of women declined by forty-two percent during the time of corona closure. They got less fruits, vegetables and other nutritious foods. Due to the closure of schemes like ‘Mid Day Meal’ in schools due to Corona, girls were deprived of supplements and nutritious food like iron folic acid. It is a well-known fact that the women of our country have the highest nutritional value. Most of the deficiency is found only in iron. It is shocking that even today 57 percent of Indian women suffer from anemia. The problem of malnutrition among domestic women also remains an enigma. There is a direct experience that the women of the house usually eat the leftover food after feeding everyone. This trend in the Indian environment often deprives them of adequate and balanced food. Similarly, the practice of marriage at an early age is also no less responsible. Being pregnant at a young age has cause serious effects on the body. Nowadays health experts are talking about a ‘hidden hunger’ i.e. indirect hunger among Indian women. It means that the micronutrients in the body lack. For many decades the main focus in women’s nutrition was on iron supply. But now experts are also pointing out the deficiency of micronutrients like Vitamin-D, Vitamin B12 and Zinc in Indian women. Even in today’s civilized society, Indian women are becoming victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence causes serious injury not only to the physical but also to the mental health of women.
Many times women hesitate to go to the hospital due to lack of female doctors and nurses or female staff in hospitals. There is also a growing belief among the conscious that the concern for women’s health is not only humanely rational, but also an economic one affecting every aspect of life. Equally important in this respect. Being half the population of the country, women also play an important role in the workforce. While some may argue that their participation in the workforce is low, the low participation of women in the labor force does not make much of an impact from an economic point of view. This argument can be given only by those who do not know that in the unorganized sector of the country, the participation of women in productive work is much more visible than that of men. Whether it is the country’s largest agricultural sector in terms of population or whether it is a cottage industry or a full-fledged textile industry, a large part of this unorganized sector is generally handled by women. If the health of such a large population of women is in question, then an assessment should also be made as to how women’s health is affecting the economic development of the country. Consideration should also be given to whether small surveys may be sufficient to accurately assess the intensity of larger problems. Of course, there is a complete infrastructure of health services in the country, but if there is a big plan for women’s health, all that can be done is to conduct awareness campaigns to increase women’s access to available services. It is not difficult at all to run a campaign to motivate for regular check-ups. The task of raising awareness among women about the essential micronutrients in food is also easy. Efforts can be made to change that social mindset both at the government and non-government levels that women should not hide their problems, but start telling them openly.
Vijay.

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