Status of Women’s Health in India: Women’s health refers to the study of medicine that concentrates on the medication and diagnosis of diseases, disorders, and conditions that affect a woman’s physical and emotional well-being.
It is said that healthy lifestyle and high intake of nutritious and good food can give good health throughout life to the humans. That’s why the government of India has been taking several steps to raise the Women’s Health and the girl child, and illiteracy in the population are the major problems connected with the implementation of relevant interventions. The present major factors which affect the health concerns of the women in India.
Presently Indian Women have to face various health issues, which eventually affect the aggregate economy’s output. Discussing the class, gender, or ethnic inequalities, Women’s Health that exists in healthcare and enhancing the health outcomes can contribute to economic benefits through the production of quality human capital and expanded levels of savings and investment.
Present Status of Women’s Health in India
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), due to natural differences, women live higher than men in all countries of the world. The variation is wider in high-income nations. India, listed as a low-middle income country, shows a difference of 3 years between life expectancy at birth for men and women. India ranks 141 on the health index in World Economic Forum’s The Global Gender Gap Report 2014, which benchmarks sexuality gaps in 142 countries on political, economic, education and health-based criteria.
Common Health and Survival Issues Faced by Women in India
Malnourishment: National Family Health Survey mentions that 35.6 percent of women in India are chronically mistreated, with Body Mass Index (BMI) inferior to the cut-off point of 18.5. Data from Bihar and Madhya Pradesh tell that girls represent up to 68 percent of the children received to programmes for the completely malnourished. Similarly, 55 % of women in India are anemic as compared to 24% of men. Undernourished females grow up to become undernourished women who give deliver a new generation of undernourished children. Maternal illness has been associated with an enhanced risk of maternal mortality and also chronic childbirth defects.
In India, Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR), the number of women who die from pregnancy-related issues per 100,000 live births, stands at 190. As a result, India estimates for the maximum number of motherly deaths in the world — 17 percent or approximately 50,000 of the 2.89 lakh women who expired as a result of complexities due to pregnancy or childbearing in 2013.
Assam is only the state which has the highest maternal deaths with an MMR above 300. Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Chhatisgarh, and Rajasthan also record MMRs over the national average. The principal causes of maternal death are hemorrhage, obstructed labor, hypertensive disorders, sepsis, abortion, and other causes, which include anemia.
Female Child Mortality
In India, female infant mortality is slightly higher than male infant mortality, but the survival problem of girls is particularly severe in the age group of 1-6 years. The Child Sex Ratio, determined as the number of females per 1000 males in the age group of 0-6 years, has been on a decreasing trend. States/Union Territories with extremely low child sex ratio are Punjab (846), Haryana (830), Jammu and Kashmir (859) and Delhi (866).
Decreasing Child Sex Ratio considers the inequality between the number of girls and boys and points towards both, post-birth discrimination against girls and pre-birth discrimination manifested through gender-biased sex selection. Several reasons are associated with the decline in the number of girls – high maternal mortality, neglect of the girl child, female infanticide, and female foeticide. Sex-selective abortions have been hugely promoted by the misuse of diagnostic methods such as amniocentesis that can decide the sex of the fetus. Low socioeconomic status, poor sanitation, illiteracy, early age of marriage, hygiene and nutrition, poor access to health facilities are also adding factors of child and maternal mortality.
How can we improve Women’s Health?
- We have to improve the quantity and quality of food and nutrients for women and girls
- We can increase access to primary health services
- Make compulsory of secondary schooling universal for girls
- Prevent and manage micronutrient deficiencies
- Develop sanitation and hygiene practices and access to safe drinking water
- Promote gender equity.
- Enabling people at the state, village, and national levels to coordinate their efforts to increase nutrition more effectively
- Setting up demonstrations on how to achieve essential interventions
- Expanding government officials’ awareness and understanding of nutrition, using the online course such as “Leadership Programme on Nutrition Security,” provided by the Indira Gandhi National Open University
- Checking micronutrient deficiencies and anemia.
- Developing Women’s Health access to basic nutrition and health services.
- Enhancing access to water and sanitation education and facilities
- Empowering women to check pregnancies too early, too often and too close together
- Incorporating more concentration on nutrition security and nutrition programming into the Right to Food Act
- Developing the media’s understanding and coverage of malnutrition issues
- Building a nourishment resource center within the Government of India’s Ministry of Women and Child Development.
Top 10 Best Foods to improve Women’s Health
- Green leafy vegetables: Green leafy vegetables are enriched with iron content for eg spinach have a natural source of calcium, which is good for bone strength. These leafy greens are loaded with magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin K, and phytonutrients that give a package for your bone health.
- Whole grains: Including whole grains in your diet such as brown rice, bran flakes, quinoa, and whole-grain bread helps to increases the fiber content in your body. Another reason you should add whole-grains in your diet is that it corrects the digestive problems. If your digestive system is correct, you can prevent constipation, flatulence, and even colon cancer.
- Eggs: Eggs is a very good source of non-dairy calcium. They are improved with vitamin D which increases overall health.
- Onions: Onions have a marvelous bone strengthening potential as they hold a certain type of polyphenol which increases bone health. According to a study, consuming onions once a day or more benefits in improving your bone mass by 5 percent.
- Yoghurt: This is one of the oldest health-boosting ingredients, yogurt should be eaten regularly. The ‘probiotics bacteria’ in yogurt support in digestion, reduce inflammation and builds immunity. Yoghurt also carries a bone-strengthening component – calcium and helps in reducing problems linked to vaginal infections, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory digestive tract disorders and stomach ulcers.
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes are rich in preventing breast and cervical cancer. They improve heart health and protect against cardiovascular diseases.
- Milk: High in potassium, calcium, vitamin B12 and riboflavin, milk also offers you healthy bones, teeth, and a glowing skin. Milk can decrease the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer too.
- Bananas: Bananas are rich in potassium which balances the body’s circulatory system. They are a great source of natural energy as they contain various minerals, vitamins, and carbs. Bananas improve bowel health and relieve you from constipation.
- Apples: Apples include quercetin – an antioxidant which improves in boosting our body’s disease-fighting abilities. Apples sharpen brain and those who want to shed extra weight should add apples in their diet as they help to meet your hunger.
- Carrots: Carrots are known as a good source of complex carbs. They give energy to muscles and potassium to control blood pressure (BP). Enriched with vitamin A, carrots increase glowing skin and slows down aging.