Women's quality of life affected by lack of health care

Jenny Decker RN's picture

On Monday, Margaret Chan, head of the United Nation’s health agency, stated at the WHO that women’s lives are not necessarily better than men’s lives due to the fact they usually live 6 to 8 years longer. In fact, women are often less healthy than men. Women’s quality of life is affected by the general lack of health care.

Women do seek out medical services more often than men. However, it is not the medical issues that are at the center of the problem. Women often fail to get treatment for violence, depression, and problems due to aging, which include Alzheimer’s and dementia, writes Reuter’s. The World Health Organization released a full report on the state of women’s health on Monday, November 9th. It includes hurdles to health care for women at the various stages of their lives, but also how the impact on women affects society as a whole.


The report includes women worldwide. For example, in 2007 women born in 35 countries had a life expectancy of 80, but life expectancy was on 54 in the WHO African Region. Nearly 99% of the half a million maternal deaths every year occur in developing countries due to lack of health care. Girls in general are more likely to suffer from sexual abuse. For adolescent girls in high and middle income countries, the leading cause of death is road traffic injury. Breast cancer leads all other cancers in killing women ages 20-59 in high income countries. Finally, cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of women worldwide. Cardiovascular disease is not just a ‘male’ problem.

Other problems that affect women are that childbirth assistance is hard to access for unmarried and marginalized women, teenagers, and sex workers. The WHO states that in many countries, these services tend to be focused on married women, ignoring the needs of unmarried women and adolescents in need of the same services. Quality of life definitely is not positive in this regard.

Women are more likely to suffer from violence and are overwhelmingly more likely to suffer from sexual violence than men. These services tend to be overlooked, or the woman who seeks help from a medical professional may not be recognized. Unfortunately, even though women are the major contributors to society at large, especially health care dollars, health care systems are either unresponsive or not equipped to deal with their needs.

At a time where a woman may need a good portion of health care is in the aging years, often after the age of 65. Some of the needs that are often not treated include anxiety and depression as well as dementia. Other issues that affect the quality of life in women are unequal access to education, employment, and fair wages as well. Where medical insurance is often linked to employment, this can present a hurdle to health care.


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