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Women's Healthcare in Haryana - Grossly Neglected

11th September 2014

Naya Haryana
India, like most developing nations, has traditionally neglected to focus on womens health, childbirth, and other womens issues. Across the country, about 12,000 women die each year due to complications arising from clandestine abortions and quackery. Haryana has been among the leading states when it comes to neglecting womens needs and health. Healthcare is still not easily accessible to women in many parts and home birthing is still common. Failure to recognise the issue of addressing womens health, through adolescence, child birthing years, and in the post-menopausal period, has led to a decline in the quality of life of women in the state. Women's health issues concerning pregnancy, gestation, abortion, labour, and birthing do not have much government statistics to go by. According to a research, about 56% women in the state who had undergone abortion after three months of gestational perceived their health to be somewhat worse, and about 19% of such women thought themselves to be in much worse condition. This points out to the lack of adequate gynecological care in the state. Child marriage and pregnancy is another major concern that the government needs to contend with. About 30% of girls in India are married by the age of 19. Early and closely spaced pregnancies cause a variety of health problems - both for the mother and for the child. In 2014, a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed against the state government by an NGO Himmat Mahila Samooh which works towards women's empowerment and health. The NGO alleged that the state administration had been discriminating against the women of Haryana by denying them access to modern contraceptive devices and curbing the information with regard to these. According to a 2013 survey about 83% of the unmarried women in the state had no information about modern contraceptive options available to them. The state governments failure to create an awareness of these options among the women only demonstrates a lack of due importance to the issue. According to a recent research paper, incidences of calcium deficiency among otherwise healthy postmenopausal women in the state are on a high. In the district of Karnal, Vitamin D deficiency among postmenopausal women is as high as 52.37 percent and additionally 14.28 percent women have insufficient levels of Vitamin D despite not reaching a deficiency level. Apart from vitamin deficiencies, menopausal women and postmenopausal women in the state do not have adequate facilities for hormone therapy, or access to medications required at this stage. Women lack the awareness requisite to get medical attention at this age and many womens health issues are often considered taboo in rural areas. The state government of Haryana needs to urgently undertake a massive womens healthcare drive to correct the situation. Tying up with various domestic and international pharmaceutical giants to gain appropriate inputs with regard to womens health is necessary. Mobile units may be deployed to facilitate primary healthcare. Most importantly the state must be made aware of the necessity of womens health, the facilities available, the concerns and cures that women face. Birthing, childcare, pregnancy, menopause, and post-menopausal health must find adequate attention in the health and welfare schemes of the state government. Healthcare affordable and universally accessible healthcare is one of the cornerstones of a successful state. A healthy and bountiful Naya Haryana can only be established when womens healthcare is a key focus area. Maternal health issues which have become routine and the cause of high mortality among women need a targeted solution. The state administration must necessarily step up its action and look into womens welfare in the various parts of the state especially the rural areas which still remain deprived of basic healthcare facilities. Only then can we secure the health and well-being of future generations.

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