Women and Health – An Indian Scenario
Prof. Vibhuti Patel,Director, PGSR & Professor & Head, PG Dept. Of Economics,SNDT Women’s University,Smt. Nathibai Rd, Mumbai-400020E mail:email@example.com Phone-26770227®, 22052970(O)
World Health Organisation has defined health as “a state of complete physical, mental andsocial well-being” which is necessary for leading a productive and fruitful life. Health is a basic human right/ women’s right. Attainment and maintenance of good health depends onwomen’s access to nutritious food, appropriate medicine to treat illnesses, clean water, safehousing, pollution free environment and health services. Thus, women’s health is determined by the forces working at homes, work-places, society and the state. According to Dr. AmartyaKumar Sen, “Burden of hardship falls disproportionately on women” due to seven types of inequality- mortality (due to gender bias in health care and nutrition), natality (sex selectiveabortion and female infanticide)), basic facility (education and skill development), specialopportunity (higher education and professional training), employment (promotion) andownership (home, land and property).
Balanced diet containing carbohydrate, protein, vitamins and minerals make ahealthy body and healthy mind. Only 10% of women are fortunate to have the privilege of nutritious diet. Majority of women in our country work more than men and for longer period but eat less, the last and the left over of poor quality of food. Their energy expenditure is notcompensated by intake of diet as it is inadequate and lacks in nutrition. India has the highest prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia in the world. 87% of pregnant women, about 68% inthe reproductive age group and about 60-70 % of adolescent girls in our country areanaemic.
This is the major reason for high level of morbidity among Indian women. TheGovernment Organisations (GOs) and Non government Organisations (NGOs) need to makea concerted effort to provide iron rich and vitamin C rich low-cost and locally available foodsto women through active nutrition education and change in dietary habits.
- Women specific common illnesses are aches/pains (back, head, stomach,uterine), weakness, fevers, respiratory problems, gastro-intestinal problems, skin, eye, ear problems and reproductive problems such as reproductive tract infection, white discharge,endometriosis. CEHAT
study reveals that morbidity is much higher among women thanmen. Middle-aged women have arthritis, menopause related hot flushes and uneasiness
Amartya Sen : “Many Faces of Gender Inequality”, an inauguration Lecture for New Redcliff Institute atHarward University, 24-4-2001.
Institute of Health Management- Prevent Anaemia Now, Pachod, Maharashtra, 2002.
Sunil Nandaraj, Neha Madhiwalla, Roopashree Sinha and Amar Jesani : Women and Health Care in Mumbai-A Study of morbidity, utilisation and expenditure on healthcare by the households of the metropolis, CEHAT,Mumbai, 2001.
Iqbal Grewal and Manju Purohit:
Women’s Health- A Complete Guide
, Gyan Sagar Publications, Delhi, 1999.