Investing in women’s health will potentially contribute to economic and social development, not only for individual women, but also for their families, communities and societies. All the evidence tells us that it is not only a good thing in itself for women and girls, but that it contributes to the overall economic performance of countries and families, for healthier women to be part of a more successful, more educated community. and more productive. societies, that families with better reproductive and maternal health are families that can report higher incomes in the long run than every dollar we spend on family planning services.
So the question remains why do gender gaps in health and well-being persist and what policies and actions are needed to improve the situation? Discussing the issue at the World Economic Forum were panelists Smriti Irani, Minister of Women and Child Development of India, Kevin Ali, Executive Director and Board Member of Organon, Natalia Kanem of the United Nations Population Fund , Executive Director, Mark Sussman, Executive Director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Importance of political commitment
Speaking of investing in the development of women and girls, Smriti Irani said: “I think if we lead by example and expressions of many policy interventions in India regarding health per se, there are some takeaways from that experience. The largest experience in the world and currently one of the largest health programs in India, called Ayushman Bharat Yojana, which covers one hundred million families from underserved communities, from low-income group communities, covers about 100 million the services in 26,000 hospitals throughout the country, where the government gives free support for medical support for more than 1,300 diseases and at the same time what it does is transferable with a migration of people from one region to another geography what it also does is Covering the enormous breadth of health care needs of those who are marginalized, it also highlights many achievements that have a social impact or that have an impact with respect to some cultural narratives.”
He continued: “When you invest in a woman’s health, you invest in the health of the community because she is not alone in keeping or restricting that benefit to herself. When you empower her financially, she tends to spend more on health and education. So, Let’s look at healthcare from both perspectives, not only from the infrastructure compromise, but also when we fiscally empower women in other segments of society, we give them more purchasing power in the healthcare sector.”
Long-term investment in women’s health
Kevin Ali said: “The sustainable development goals in terms of things like the reduction in maternal mortality over the last 17 years, is the average of about three percentage points reduction per year when SDG basically says it should be about six percent. When we look at the rates of unwanted pregnancy globally, it’s about 50 percent, five out of 10 pregnancies were unwanted. And we all know that for a lot of girls and women, that could basically keep them from being able to have their children own development, their own chances in life in terms of education and opportunities to go after Postpartum haemorrhage, a woman dies every three minutes somewhere in the world from the complication of childbirth, which should not be the case Premature birth, there are around of a million babies a year who are born in a state of preterm labor and the complications and mortality and morbidity associated with preterm labor has not really generated enough innovation and focused on some of these things in terms of of maternal care, in terms of reproductive health, for example, unwanted pregnancies, in terms of a number of areas.
He continued: “You need to invest in the opportunities to bring innovation into that space. And that’s where the idea for Organon was born to essentially be a company that has a lot of businesses. But the direction of the journey is really about investing in the health of the women to increase investment in innovation. The good news is that there are green shoots of innovation around the world, ranging from the emerging area of Femtech to therapeutic breakthroughs as well. Now the reason why there hasn’t been investment over the years it’s very simple if commercially there are more and more innovations and more and more return on that investment then it will almost serve as a magnet it will magnetize the industry to start investing more in areas of women’s health , both clearly women’s health, as well as those conditions, which uniquely or disproportionately affect women, from celiac disease to chronic cough, migraine headaches and osteoporosis.”
close the gaps
Natalia Kanem, speaking on overcoming barriers, said: “Women are no longer in the background and, like half the world’s population, the demands of the political system, and I think we have had beautiful examples of transformation when they prioritize the needs of women, as well as the understanding that women themselves are stepping up to lead on these issues.Noting certain barriers to why women’s needs are not prioritized brings us back to this issue of presenting the case, but presenting the case with evidence is not always enough, so transforming especially an adolescent’s understanding of her human rights, her self-esteem, her right to exist in a digital space, her right not only to lead, but to consume products that are good for her and her mental health. These are the green shoots that not only the private sector, but also us as the United Nations, as the public sector, as normal citizens, as parents who support their daughters, we all have to hug”.
He continued: “Where you live, you could be on top of a hill in an island location. Your human right to health exists. So looking at the geography and innovation and some of the technological solutions that we can use to overcome those sound barriers “. , but also simple primary health care, this is what will make the difference for women. But to hear the voices of women saying this is what we need, this is what we want and we’re not going to wait 100 years for the pay situation to even out etc. That is going to be the accelerator we need.”