This 8th March, when the entire nation will celebrate Women’s Day, there are still some ground realities that need to get uncovered regarding healthcare and hygiene of women in India. A recent survey conducted by Curofy, India’s largest community of verified doctors, on Women HealthCare Awareness showed dismal results when it came to Indian women community and got huge response maintaining their health and hygiene, especially menstrual hygiene. The survey was done with an objective to study the awareness level of women on their health and hygiene. The survey was floated among doctors of Curofy’s.
A total of 2102 doctors from all across India took the survey. Doctors were asked about percentage level of awareness among female patients on areas related to healthcare checkups, cervical cancer vaccines; menstrual hygiene, health insurance etc.
The responses given by doctors were categorized into different levels and then their percentages were calculated. The results of the survey are shown below. When doctors were asked about what percentage of female patients maintain menstrual hygiene, out of total 2102 responses, 971 (46.2%) lied in the range of 0-20%. 145 responses lied in the range of 60-80% and this number was meager 68 (3.1%) for more than 80%. The average of all the responses showed that only 28.03% of female patients maintain menstrual hygiene.
In India, there are still many taboos and myths related to menstruation which ultimately creates a huge impact on women’s and girl’s emotional state. As per one of the articles from Journals of Public Medicine and Health Care, 23% of girls in India drop out of school as soon as they begin menstruating. Also, more than 77% of menstruating girls and women still use an old, reused cloth and even resort to dry leaves and husk sand. Adding to it, the myths and taboos related to menstruation tend to aggravate the problems for women. Also, very low awareness about the hygiene which is to be maintained during this time leads to heath issues.
As per Dr. ILA Gupta, Head IVF unit Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon, “Young girls & young women should maintain hygiene during their menstrual cycle, sanitary napkins should be changed frequently, and just using one napkin throughout the day is not hygienic & not good for maintaining adequate health. ”
When doctors were asked about percentage of female patients coming for preventive health care check-ups, 963 (45.8%) responses lied in the range of less than 20%. Only 75 responses (3.6%) came for more than 80% female coming for preventive healthcare check-up. The average of all the responses show that only 29.73% of female patients come for preventive health care check-up.
Awareness about preventive health care check-up is a must among women. As per one of the pediatrician from Kolkata, “Proper education to females of all age groups regarding their health, hygiene and check-ups should be given and must be made mandatory”.
The survey also gauged into the cervical cancer vaccine awareness among women. As per the survey results for female patients being aware about cervical cancer vaccine, 1600 (76.2%) responses lied in less than 20% of range and just 30 responses (0.9%) agreed for more than 80% female patients being aware about the vaccine. The average of all the responses showed that only 16.6% of female patients were aware about cervical cancer vaccine.
Dr Manavita Mahajan, Senior Consultant, Fortis Memorial Research Institute gave her view on the cervical cancer vaccine awareness. She says,”We are trying to work around the awareness of Cervical Cancer Vaccine. Parents of young girls must be informed that that they should get their daughters vaccinated, & cervical cancer vaccination. Awareness is about female genital cancer & we should work around it more aggressively”.
Also, another aspect that the survey intended to study was about how many women actually do their medical insurance. As per the results, 1430 responses (68.1%) lied in the range of less than 20%. Also, only 46 doctors (2.2%) lied in 60-80% range. Just 19 responses (0.9%) agreed for than 80% of their female patients having health insurance. The average response showed that only 18.87% female patients have health insurance.
On one side we talk about giving importance to our female counterparts by celebrating Women’s Day etc. but we all tend to neglect the health and hygiene of women in our country. For any country, this task is the most basic and a mandatory one.
There are many doctors on Curofy who believe that it is a shared responsibility of all including doctors to maintain health awareness among women. As per one of the physicians from UP, “The Women health awareness needs lot of improvement. We as doctors have the responsibility and resources to make them aware. If we Pledge to educate one patient every day from our OPD, it can make a difference.”
Mudit Vijayvergiya, one of the founders of Curofy, says “The Women HealthCare and Hygiene in India still requires a lot of improvement and a collaborative efforts of government, doctors and very importantly our own society .The true essence of celebrating Women’s Day is by making our women healthier, stronger and more aware about their hygiene.”