Health unit will address women’s special needs – Ramsammy
Stabroek News – March 13, 2008
The Ministry of Health says the new unit it plans will take into account that women have specific health needs that cannot be adequately addressed without unique provisions.
Meanwhile, Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy said that a person to head the programme has already been identified and the ministry is in the process of formulating plans and seeking budgetary allocations to support this year’s programme. “I think this is a good way for Guyana to further demonstrate its commitment to women’s affairs,” he said.
The release noted that this component of the ministry’s plan was disclosed by Dr. Ramsammy as he reflected on the effects of ill health on women as International Women’s Day 2008 was being observed last week around the world under the theme, “Investing in women and Girls.”
Ramsammy noted that there is a huge disparity in terms of providing adequate health care that is gender specific to women. He added that “between 600-800,000 women die every year giving birth and for every one woman that dies of child birth, there are 3-5 and even 10 in some countries that are maimed for life.”
He said while the human papilloma virus is sexually transmitted from men to women, women bear the effects, including 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,” he was quoted as saying.
And some of the chronic diseases also affect far more women than men. In the case of diabetes, Ramsammy said, it affects two women to one man.
“It therefore demonstrates that health in developing its systems must realize that women have certain health issues that are unique to them. So 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.”
He also pointed to the pressing issue of violence against women, particularly domestic violence, adding that women are affected both physically and psychologically.
He said that addressing the issue of domestic violence requires a multi-sectoral approach and therefore the Ministries of Home Affairs, Human Services and Health have been collaborating, along with NGOs.