Monitoring Women and Girls’ Health: A WHO Observation
Women from around the world have to bear gender-specific health problems and issues throughout their day-to-day lives. From breast cancer to pregnancy complications, women are put at risk of developing these life-threatening diseases if not properly monitored. In honor of Women’s Month, we’ve compiled 10 eye-opening facts about the state of women’s health worldwide.
1. Girls are less likely to gain access to vaccines, health services, and adequate nutrition.
Due to gender discrimination, a lot of women around the world are still considered second-class citizens and are deprived of basic health necessities.
2. Girls are still less likely to attend school than boys.
Despite the significant progress made over the last 20 years, proper healthcare education is still beyond the reach of a significant number of girls and women due to their inability to attend school.
3. HIV/AIDS remains the second leading cause of death for girls entering later childhood and early adolescence.
Although small improvements were made, the number of young girls affected by this disease is still visible in some areas of the world.
4. Young girls are more prone to sexual abuse.
Sexually abused young girls have an 18% rating compared to the significantly lower 8% rating of sexually abused boys. It’s been estimated that 120 million adolescent girls have experienced forced sexual acts.
5. As of November 2018, 12 million girls get married before the age of 18 years.
Girls entering later adolescence are potential subjects to early marriage. 12.8 million births have been recorded from girls belonging in this age group. Early childbirth increases the likelihood of maternal mortality. Lasting health problems have also been recorded from 3.9 million young women who had unsafe abortions.
6. Women are more susceptible to depression and anxiety.
This is likely due to the environment that they live in or external stressors that can trigger a negative outlook in life. Violent experiences from intimate relationships and disproportionate burden of care may also cause these problems.
7. Globally, one woman dies of cervical cancer every two minutes.
Cervical cancer is one of the most common causes of death for women, especially those living in low and middle-income countries. Those affected by HIV are at a much higher risk of developing cervical cancer as they are 4-5 times more likely to experience persistent HPV infection.
8. Fertility in low and middle-income countries are higher.
Women living in these affected countries do not have access to good quality health care for pregnancy and childbirth therefore resulting in multiple health problems in their post-reproduction years.
9. Women are more likely to be underrepresented in research.
In the world of medicine, men are usually the frontrunners. Despite the improvements made in women’s health, numerous women still have limited access to proper care and treatment. This is why research on women-specific diseases, such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), are still comparatively overlooked.
10. Dementia is more common among women aged 60 years and over.
Women in this category experience greater loss of functional abilities than men. However, the necessary treatment or supportive aids are still less likely to be received by women.
We hope that through these data, Filipinas will be better armed with the information and awareness needed to improve these statistics for women across the globe. Let’s fight these numbers and shape a world where every woman has the right and access for the quality healthcare that she deserves.