Women's Issues In Guyana


Women’s health unit in the works

Posted in Health Issues by wiig on March 9, 2008
Tags: , , ,

Guyana Chronicle – March 9, 2008

THE Ministry of Health said yesterday that women have specific health needs that cannot be adequately addressed without unique provisions in the health care system and that it is for this reason that it will be establishing a Women’s Health Unit later this year.

“… it is quite clear that when we look at health, we have to look at the health of the woman in a special way and so the Ministry of Health has decided that we should establish a Women’s Health Unit at the Ministry so that problems peculiar to women can be addressed in a focused way,” Health Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy said yesterday as he reflected on the effects of ill health on women during observances here to mark ‘International Women’s Day 2008’, which was is being commemorated the world over under the theme, ‘Investing in women and Girls’.

The Minister said that someone has already been identified to spearhead the programme and that his ministry is in the process of formulating plans and seeking budgetary allocations to support it.

Celebrated annually on March 8, International Women’s Day (IWD) is the global day connecting all women around the world and inspiring them to achieve their full potential. The first International Women’s Day was launched on 8 March, 1911 in Copenhagen by Clara Zetkin, Leader of the ‘Women’s Office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany.

Noting that there is a huge disparity in terms of providing adequate health care that is gender specific to women, Minister Ramsammy said that “between 600,000 – 800,000 women die every year giving birth, and [that] for every one woman that dies of child birth, between three to five and in some countries as many as 10 are maimed for life.”

He said too that while the Human Papilloma Virus is sexually transmitted from men to women, it is the women who bear the effects of this virus, one of which is cervical cancer. “So, while a woman can get infected by a man who carries the virus, it is the woman who then bears the burden of that transmission and almost a million women die every year because of this. So if you look at the vulnerability of women, you see it expressed in many ways; and one is health,” the minister said.

Another pressing issue relating to women which can also ruin their health, he said, is unequal relationships, a new buzz-word it seems for domestic and other types of violence perpetrated against women.

Noting that violence against women, particularly domestic violence, largely affects women rather than men, both physically and psychologically, the minister said this is an issue which requires a multi-sectoral approach if it is to be properly addressed.

“Some of this violence — domestic violence and violence against women and children — lead to not only death, but to lifelong disabilities and we need to address all of these issues, he said, adding that rape and sexual abuse is another area that needs to be further addressed.

On this note, Minister Ramsammy congratulated the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security on its implementation of the ‘Stamp it Out’ campaign.

Meanwhile, the United Nations said the Charter of the United Nations, signed in 1945, was the first international agreement to affirm the principle of equality between women and men. Since then, the UN has helped create a historic legacy of internationally-agreed strategies, standards, programmes and goals to advance the status of women worldwide.

Over the years, the UN and its technical agencies have promoted the participation of women as equal partners with men in achieving sustainable development, peace, security, and full respect for human rights. The empowerment of women continues to be a central feature of the UN’s efforts to address social, economic and political challenges across the globe.

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