According to Pfizer India, the leading pharmaceutical manufacturers in the country, Women in Haryana and Punjab are marginalised and vulnerable because of low literacy rates and a predominant gender bias . Women's healthcare is greatly neglected in many parts of the state.
Home birthing and delayed availability of trained medical assistance are possibly the biggest issues faced by the women of the state, especially along the rural belt. According to a research study conducted between 2005 and 2009 injuries during birth and asphyxia, and prematurity caused the most number of early neonatal deaths. This also reflects that home birthing is still very common phenomenon one that may be potentially lethal to many women of childbearing age. Postpartum care in many parts of the state is next to nonexistent. Home remedies and quacks rule the rural sectors; medical treatment is often left to untrained hands and avoidable casualties is the result.
A proper understanding of women's health issues reflects the challenges faced by lack of education, awareness, and facilities. Rural sectors suffer from lack of advanced healthcare facilities. Even in villages and districts where such facilities are available, lack of awareness and social inhibitions prevent women across the state from seeking help as required. We may take heart in statistics for now, and console ourselves that Haryana's maternal mortality rate has been brought down from 186 per one lakh live births (in the year 2004-05) to about 153 per lakh (in the year 2009-10) recording a decline of 17.74 %. This, however, may not be quite enough. In rural areas, especially, preventable deaths are still aplenty. Lack of basic sanitation and personal hygiene is another major healthcare concern among women. Diet and nutrition among women remains a ready cause of poor health with men claiming a larger and more nutritive share of the food, in households below poverty line.
The issue can be tackled at three different levels education and training of village health workers and midwives. Creating an awareness of situations that need expert medical attention and knowledge of hygienic birthing shall go a long way in further reducing maternal mortality. Mobile healthcare units, though existent are inadequate in comparison to the population of the state. The predominant demand, however, is the upgradation of medical care facilities in government centers and hospitals, affordable and easily approachable clinics dedicated to the women of the state.
Women and children's health is the foundation on which a healthy state may be built. Women's education and empowerment shall necessarily have to begin with providing adequate healthcare facilities, and creating an awareness of better living conditions in a Naya Haryana. It'is important to look at the vast scope that yet remains untapped, at least in case of healthcare and mortality. Progress is defined by healthy living, and healthy women will create a vast landscape of success for the state.