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An integrated approach to women’s health equity

10 March 2023 | Opinion

As International Women's Day passes, the world focuses on highlighting the achievements of women and the need to push for gender equality. Healthcare providers can take a comprehensive approach to address the factors that impact women's health outcomes. Mahender Nayak, APAC head, Takeda shares more.

Women’s health equity is a fundamental issue that affects women’s overall well-being, as well as their social and economic development. Women still have health inequalities across their lifetimes despite improvements in healthcare and medical technology. In addressing the systemic and structural hurdles that prevent access to high-quality healthcare, an integrated approach to women's health equality can empower women to advocate for their health and healthcare needs.

Examining access, quality, and outcomes:

Women must have access to healthcare services to get the best possible health results. Regrettably, many women have difficulty getting access to high-quality medical treatment. These obstacles may include, among other things, financial limitations, isolation due to geography, and a lack of insurance. Women's health outcomes, such as higher rates of morbidity and death rates, are significantly impacted by inadequate access to healthcare. Women must have access to healthcare services to get the best possible health results. For example, maternal mortality rates are highest in the Asia-Pacific region, with 85% of global maternal deaths occurring in the region.

 Another essential element of women's health equity is high-quality healthcare. Access to evidence-based preventative services, such as cancer screening, vaccines, and the early diagnosis and treatment of chronic illnesses, is another aspect of quality healthcare. As an initiative, pharmaceutical companies can take a lead in creating a comprehensive system for patient-centered care.

The results of medical treatment matter just as much. Women should get safe, effective, and efficient medical treatment. Women's health outcomes should be assessed based on variables including patient satisfaction, life expectancy, and morbidity and death rates. In this regard, Takeda is committed to providing patient-centered care that considers the unique healthcare needs of women. The company works to ensure that its products and services are accessible and affordable to women and that they meet the highest standards of safety and quality.

Systematic and structural barriers to women’s health equity:

It is critical to recognize and address the structural and systemic barriers that contribute to health inequalities to attain women's health equity. Social determinants of health including poverty, prejudice, and restricted access to chances for education and work are examples of these impediments.

Additionally, the healthcare system itself can contribute to health disparities by perpetuating biases and inequities in the delivery of care. For instance, due to gender bias in clinical decision-making, women may be less likely to obtain the right medical therapy for their symptoms. Information is one of the tools which can remove systematic and structural barriers for women across the Asia-Pacific region. Takeda in the Asia-Pacific region works to increase awareness of women's health issues through education and outreach programs. The company provides educational resources and materials on women's health topics and collaborates with healthcare providers and advocacy groups to promote awareness of these issues.

Bridging the gap:

The disparity between the obstacles women confront and the fair healthcare they deserve may be closed with an integrated strategy for women's health equality. Urging the implementation of policy reforms that address the socioeconomic factors that affect health, such as increasing access to affordable housing and employment opportunities. Similarly, promoting the use of healthcare services that are sensitive to cultural and gender differences is the need of the hour for the Asia-Pacific region. The provision of gender-specific healthcare services, such as reproductive health and mental health, should be taught to healthcare professionals. Training on how to spot and resolve gender prejudice in healthcare settings should be provided to healthcare personnel. Addressing cultural practices and ideas that support gender inequality is also crucial. Governments and healthcare organizations should aim to increase the number of female healthcare professionals, make healthcare more accessible, and improve the infrastructure for healthcare to increase access to services for women.

A comprehensive strategy that addresses healthcare access, quality, and outcomes as well as the institutional and structural factors that contribute to health disparities is necessary to achieve women's health equity. We can develop a more equitable healthcare system that supports the health and welfare of all women by enabling women to speak out for their healthcare needs and tackling the socioeconomic determinants of health.

 

Authour: Mahender Nayak, APAC head, Takeda

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