Report highlights sorry state of women’s health in Sindh
Karachi:The state of women’s health is dismal as compared to their counterparts because of the negligence in this regard based on the notion that men are the primary bread earners. Besides this, healthcare is either expensive or not easily accessible, especially in the rural areas.
The gloomy situation was pointed out in a report prepared by the Sindh government about women’s health and working conditions. Inadequate and out-of-reach primary and reproductive health care services, poor family planning, nutrition and education, etc, are major factors behind the sorry state of women’s health and healthcare according to the report.
Marriages girls who are minors, resulting in early child birth, means that they face extraordinary sexual and reproductive health issues, said the report, adding that infant mortality rate is high in Sindh.
Untrained midwives deal with the labour process in the rural areas and a shortage of health facilities prompts people to go to Attai Doctors (quacks), Aamils (spiritual healers) and Dargahs (mausoleums of saints) for the treatment of their ailments.
Mental illness remains a seriously neglected area and women suffering from emotional disturbances are taken to persons who deal in exorcism.
Highlighting the role of women in Sindh’s economy, the report revealed that women have been playing a vital role in the economy as farmers, workers in the informal sector, employees in manufacturing, industries, the service sector and as home-based women workers.
“They comprise the invisible workforce,” the report said. It added that since women’s efforts are not recognised formally and hence cannot be quantified, they are thus in a disadvantaged position as their rights are also not formally recognised.
They are not given any representation in economic decision-making forums and their access to credit, formal labour markets and land ownership is also limited by social constraints.
These factors, pertaining to mobility and social attitudes, hamper their development.
The report expressed concern over the virtually nom-existent allocation of funds for mother and child health in Sindh stating that the federal government has allocated Rs2 million, Punjab Rs40 million and the NWFP spends Rs13 million, for the same. Balochistan is the only province that made some relatively reasonable expenditure of Rs100 million for the mother and child.
The report also criticise the uneven distribution of hospitals and health facilities. In Karachi alone, the four largest hospitals are concentrated in a particular area. It added that the status of a woman is linked to her marital role and her nuclear family, hence protecting the virginity of adolescent girls is considered of the greatest concern to her family, leading to increased restricted mobility and segregation.
Source: The News