Bhopal 09.03.2022. Dr Naresh Purohit, Advisor-National Communicable Disease Control Programme said that the reluctance to get preventive healthcare is not just seen in rural women but also seen in urban women of Punjab.The need for women to get preventive healthcare is dire.
Sharing his concern on health issues before women on the occassion of International Womens Day , renowned Epidemiologist Dr Purohit said that India need policies to bring more and more women to the health centres for accessible and economically sound screenings and treatments. We also need to remind the women around us to pay attention to themselves, their body and its need. We need more and more women to understand that it is absolutely fair to put their needs first and take care of their mental and physical health (self-care)
Dr Purohit, also Advisor for National Cancer Control Programme stated that India is one of the many developing countries in the world where the major cause of cancer mortality in women is cervical cancer. Every year, 67,477 women die from the disease. And yet, the rate of screenings and even the awareness among women about the disease is appallingly low. According to the recent Indian Council Medical Research (ICMR) report less than 30 percent of women in India aged 30-49 years have ever been screened for cervical cancer. He pointed that the number is concerning as 483.5 million women aged 15 years and older are at the risk of developing cervical cancer, while one in 22 women in urban Indian women, one in 60 women in rural India is at risk of developing breast cancer in her lifetime.
“Even after being aware of pap smears, cervical cancer screenings,most women refuse to get them done because they are scared of the results. The reluctance to deal with the consequences is preventing them from getting timely treatment.” he added.
Principal Investigator for the association of studies for mental care , Dr Purohit averred that according to WHO, 1 in every 5 women experiences some form of mental illness. Females are more vulnerable to mental health issues due to too many responsibilities at multiple fronts, domestic violence, gender discrimination, and countless other factors. Worse, they may not ask for help fearing stigma and insensitivity.
Dr Purohit revealed that the biggest concern in terms of women’s health is lack of tailor-made guided awareness about it. Because of the abundance of information on the internet and lack of time and will to visit a qualified doctor, most women are modifying their lifestyles by accepting the easily available information without trying to understand whether the information is fit for them or not. This applies to all health concerns from mental to physical, he added.
Noted physician emphasised that the world needs to move from ritual and rhetoric to genuine actions for safe and healthy existence of half of the world’s population that faces gender-based inequality, discrimination and violence. Before the onset of Covid-19, a staggering 243 million women and girls (aged 15-49) were globally subjected to sexual or physical violence. This has only worsened during the pandemic.