Women and Health Agenda Over the Last Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Women and Health Agenda Over the Last 20 Years

This review is about women's health demands and their contribution in creating a healthy society. For many decades, World Health Organization (WHO) has had tremendous measures that concern women's health. Women's health remains a crucial priority by various healthcare agencies. This review explains why various healthcare institutions take a great initiative in ensuring that women's health remains an urgent priority in the society. In addition, this review takes a stock of our own understanding about women's health issues at all stages of their live. Highlighting major issues - some health issues are familiar, while others merit more focus on opportunities for developing the society.

Furthermore, the review also identifies areas that provide better information plus policy discussion at national, regional and international level. The work also shows the significance of the basic health care reforms established in The world health report 2008: primary health care -- now more than ever. Some of the reforms outlines focused on the significance of embracing strong political and institutional leaders, visionary and resources aimed at enhancing the future of women's health (Aiken LH et al. 288).

Historical overview

Improving the health of women is a life-course approach that requires critical understanding of government and societal intervention in improving the health of women in all their life stage. Women's health constitutes the relationship in biological and social requirements of women's health the role of gender discrimination in escalating exposure and susceptibility to risk, limited access to health care and informa-tion, and impact on health outcome. While this review focuses on health problems that affect only women -- such as cervical cancer and the health problems associated with pregnancy and childbirth (Katherine et al., 2010).

It also indicates that women's health requires institutions to focus on sexual and reproductive factors. In addition, the paper also discloses that over the last couple of years, institutions failed to address women's health issues for fear of risks associated to health high costs of conducting research. For instance, adolescent stage is very sensitive in and by then the society thought it was unwise to address sexually related issues (Neil & Virginia, 2010).

Parents and healthcare experts thought that addressing certain issues was against the set norms. The high cost in carrying out market research hindered addressing the health issue among females. In a world consisting of ageing populace, the institutions encounter the challenge of preventing and managing the health related issues. This prolongs the chronic health problems that may affect the future generation. Other than, depending on the society and health institutions to solve the underlying health problems, women should also take great initiative. The life-course approach comes in to disclose the significance of women is multiple involvements to soci-ety in their productive and reproductive functions, as well as consumers and health care providers. It is in respect of this fact that the review calls for reforms to ascertain that women become key agents in health-care provision. This is through participating in the design, management and provision of health services (Aiken LH et al. 288).

Several factors determine the lives of women of all ages and in all nations. These factors include; epidemiological, demographic, social, cultural, economic and environmental. These factors also affect the lives of males but some misfortunes influence girls and women in par-ticular. For instance, it is a natural biological incident that sex ratios during birth tend favors the boy child. This means that, in the last twenty years, for every 100 boys born, there are 94 girls born in USA and 98 in other continents. In some areas, societal prejudice against girl child and parental inclinations for boy child result in distorted sex ratios. In USA, for example, the 2001 market research found only 93 girls per 100 boys. This is a decline compared to 1961 when the number of girls was 98 (Cottingham, Garcia-Moreno & Reis 1555 -- 1562).

In other regions of America, the number of girls is less than 80 girls for every 100 boys. Low sex ratio is also a factor in other American regions, particularly, in North America, where according to survey conducted in 2002, there were 84 girls born for every 100 boys. This was a slight increase from 81 in 1991, but a decrease from 93 girls per 100 boys in the late 1980s. Generally, the life span of women is longer than that of men by six to eight years (Susan, David & Allison, 2009). The difference in lifespan is because of an inherent biological factor for the female. Newborn girls are likely to stay alive to their first birthday than newborn boys. This is an advantage throughout life; women records lower rates of mortality at all ages, probably because of combi-nation of both the genetic and behavioral factors (Aiken LH et al. 288).

Women's long life advantage becomes most evident in old age. The result may be because of lower lifetime risk behaviors, such as smoking and abuse of drugs. Today, life expectancy difference amid gender is reducing in some developed coun-tries. This may be because increased smoking among women and falling rates of cardio-vascular disease among men. The female advantage in life expectancy is a recent incident. Correct historical data are hard to find, but there are facts that in the last twenty years life expectancy of males was higher that of female. This explanation may partly lie in the low social position of women or the high rates of mortality that often linked with pregnancy and childbearing (Cottingham, Garcia-Moreno & Reis 1555 -- 1562).

Globally, women's life expectancy at birth has increased for the last 20 years since the early 1991. By then, life expectancy ranged between 60 and 65 years. In 2002, the life expectancy for women was 70 years as compared to 65 years for men. Today, female's life expectancy is more than 80 years in approximately 35 coun-tries, but this is an inconsistent picture. For instance, life expectancy at birth for women in the America was esti-mated at only 54 years in 1991 -- the lowest of any region. This low life expectancy resulted from chronic diseases and other fatal diseases, HIV / AIDS and maternal mortality, are factors that prevent efforts to improve life expectancy (Haidong, Wang & Samuel, 2009).

In addition, women's life expectancy equals to or shorter than men's because of the social disadvantages that women face (Cottingham, Garcia-Moreno & Reis 1555 -- 1562).

However, life expectancy narrates part of the story; the extra years in the life of women are not characterized by good health. In low-income nations, the difference between women and men is measured by their terms of healthy life expectancy. In some nations, the health life expectancy is marginal, and in other countries, women's health expectancy is lower than for men. It is very absurd that women are unable to access health services yet these health systems rely on women for growth and development. Women play a key role in providing care to the family and become the anchor to both formal and informal healthcare.

Women also dominate in healthcare provision in America and other nations. With approximately 59 million healthcare employees in the world, 30 million of these employees constitute women. Most women provide informal services within the healthcare set-up. They tend to focus in occupations considered to have lower status, for instance, nursing, midwifery, and community health services. Highly trained professionals associate these occupations to females, while males predominate as doctors and dentists among other high status professions (Cottingham, Garcia-Moreno & Reis 1555 -- 1562). There is a marked gender inequality between the percentage consisting of male doctors and female nurses. This is a rare research reported by few countries. For example, in America, there are over 70% of male doctors and over 70% of females taking nursing courses. This review found that, in numerous nations female health-service providers are significantly scarce in rural settings. Such a situation is unsafe for females in certain countries because women remain isolated in particular areas (Crapo et al., 1990).

In most cases, female employees are prevalent to various health related problems, for instance, hepatitis B and C. infections and HIV infections. This is because they are prone to injuries caused by needle sticks and other sharp objects. Women are also susceptible to musculoskeletal injuries that results from burnouts. They also get exposure to hazardous drugs that are either mutagenic or even carcinogenic, and other chemical hazards for instance disinfec-tants and sterilants. These may expose them to Asthmatic conditions if improperly handled. There is need for institutions to advocate for health transition within the healthcare system. These breaks down the gender disparity between male and female workers and either of them can work without any restrictions (Aiken LH et al. 288).

The health transition

Health transition is one of the most striking phenomenons in contemporary societies. It is also a shift in the underlying disease and mortality rates in the world. Health transition affects men, women and children…

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