Essay: Women and Health Agenda

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[. . .] These are demographic structures, patterns of disease and risk factors. Lower mortality rates among children below the age of five years and declining fertility rates characterizes the demographic transition. The outcome is an ageing populace. There is a decrease in the aver-age number of children borne by each woman in global perspective, from 4.3 during the early 1990s to 2.6 by 2002 -- 2010.

The reduced birth rate is the high usage of the contraception. The epidemiological transition indicates a shift in the major causes of death and diseases. This is in contrast to infectious diseases, such as diarrhea and pneumonia, towards non- communicable diseases for instance, cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancers. The risk transition is featured by a decline in risk factors for infectious diseases and a swell in risk factors for chronic diseases (for instance, obese and abuse of alcohol and tobacco). This health transition is happening at diverse rates in various countries. In most middle-income nations includ-ing much of Latin America, health transition is in progress (Vetter & Geller, 2007).

From the statistics conducted in 1991, communicable, nutritional and maternal factors causes about 13% of deaths compared to over 60% deaths in 2002. Even though the high death rate caused by non-communicable diseases may have decreased in America, these diseases result to an increas-ing proportion of total deaths, reaching 80% in 2010. Similar to other numerous nations, in America women were less prevalent to deaths caused by injuries than men. In 1991, injuries caused 23% of male deaths, but only 7% of women died from injuries Steward, Et al, 2007).

There is great advancement of health transition in America, where predominance of infectious diseases determines the mortality rate in girls and women. In the last couple of years, women and children encountered high rates of mortal-ity, often associated to nutritional deficiencies, unsafe water and sanitation, smoke emitted from traditional methods used for cooking and heating and pregnancy and childbearing among others. These traditional risks impose a direct toll on the health of women and children and causing a negative aspect in generational health. Women facing poor nutrition, infectious diseases and insufficient access to health care tend to have infants with low birth weight. These are challenges that compromise the health and survival of these infants. Public health interventions focus on controlling these problems through enhanced nutrition, cleaner household environments, and effective health care (Poole, 2008).

New or previously unidentified health chal-lenges continue to surface, for example, obesity, inadequate exercise, drug abuse, domestic violence and environmental risks. The effect of these rising risks differs at various levels of socioeconomic development. Urban air pollution, for instance, posses a greater risk to health in developing countries compared with developed countries. This is because the latter have made tremendous advancement in environmental and public health policies (Polacek, Ramos & Ferrier, 2007).

The risk transition accounts for the disparities in the trends of behavior of men and women. For instance, in various traditional settings, misuse of tobacco and alcohol was highly used by men compared to women.

Smoking levels among women is approaching that of men; the health effects, for instance, high rates of cardiovascular diseases and cancers, will surface in the coming years. In developing and developed countries, alcohol abuse is higher among men. However, in numerous developed nations, male and female trends of alcohol use are starting to converge (Moy & Dayton, 2007).

Socioeconomic inequalities adversely affect health

Socioeconomic status is a key factor of health for both males and females. Today, it is evident that women in developed nations have a high life span and are less prevalent to suffer from ill health. This is in contrast to women in developing nations. In industrialized nations, there are low death rates among children and younger women and most of these people die at the age of 60 years. There is a quite different picture in the developing nations. The population consists of young populace and the number of deaths reported for young people is high. In low-income nations, most of the deaths are happening among the girls, adolescents and younger adult women. In developed nations, non-communicable diseases, for instance, heart disease, stroke, demen-tias and cancers, are the leading causes of death. This accounts for about four causes in every 10 female deaths (Cottingham, Garcia-Moreno & Reis 1555 -- 1562).

By contrast, in developing nations, maternal and prenatal condi-tions and communicable diseases, for instance, reduced respiratory infections, diarrhea diseases and HIV / AIDS are alarming and resulting to more than 38% of total female deaths. Low living standards and low socioeconomic status leads to poor health outcomes. Research conducted from various low-income countries indicates that roughly 20% of households double those in the America. In both developing and developed nations, levels of maternal mortality are three times higher among underprivileged ethnic groups than among the women. There are comparable disparities in the way application of health-care services (Cottingham, Garcia-Moreno & Reis 1555 -- 1562).

Gender inequities affect women's health

Gender inequalities in women compound the adverse effect on health of low socioeconomic status. In numerous nations and settings, women and girls are perceived in terms of social inferiority. Behavioral and other social values, codes of conduct and laws effect the suppression of women and condone domestic violence. Imbalanced power relationships and gendered standards and values decipher into differential access to and regulate over health resources, within families and beyond (Morland & Everson, 2009).

Gender inequalities in the allotment of resources results in poor health and declined welfare. Across the various health problems, girls and women encounters differential exposures and susceptibilities often inadequately identified. Even though there is a growing intervention of women's participation in politics, men still exercise political dominance in most settings. They continue to dominate both the social and economic control. There is no consistent information available on the number of women living in low social economic status, but women are predominantly susceptible to income poverty because they are less likely in official employ-ment and much of their remuneration does not match that of men (Cottingham, Garcia-Moreno & Reis 1555 -- 1562).

In many low-income nations, a high number of agricultural employees are women and many are unpaid. They conduct voluntary work because this is part of their role within the family set-up. Women participation in non-agricultural employment increased since 1990s, and by 2002, about 40% of workers consisted of women. Nevertheless, employment ratios, for example, the number of employed persons in relation to the working age proportion, are signifi-cantly higher for males than for females. This creates a gender gap that varies from 15% in America to over 40% in the neighbouring regions. Even with formal employment, men still dominates in terms of income earned (Farris, 2007).

For this reason, they are unable to obtain formal labor market, encounters job security and the advantages of social protection, including provision to health care. In the formal employment, women encounter challenges associated to their low standards of living. They also face discrimi-nation and sexual harassment. For this reason, they must balance the requirements of remunerated work, and domestic work, resulting to work-based exhaustion, diseases, mental ill health and other challenges. Data collected from numerous national Demographic and Health Surveys indicate that a typical woman leads almost five households and most of these households are susceptible to poverty. The health of women is also at a risk because of traditional domestic chores (Cottingham, Garcia-Moreno & Reis 1555 -- 1562).

For example, women and girls use traditional cooking methods and this exposes them to air pollution. Inhaling the polluted air is responsible for over 641-000 of the 1.3 million deaths global because chronic obstruc-tive pulmonary disorder (COPD) among women annually. The challenge of COPD resulting from exposure to polluted air is more than 50% higher among women than among men. Women are unduly responsible for gathering household fuel and water. The amount of time used on collecting household fuel and water could or else be spend on income-generation, education, or provide care for family member. This is related to the women's health status and those of their families. In achieving equity in education -- primary level and above -- it is crucial for women to participate in developing both the society and the economy.

Women and healthcare facilities

Women encounter diverse challenges in adversities and emergencies. Available market research shows that there is trend of gender disparity at all stages of women's lives. The disparity is perpetuated by, exposure to threats, risk sensitivity, preparedness, response, physical and psychological influence, improvement and reconstruction. Studies carried out indicate that most disasters from America causes high death rate among women. In incidences of conflicts and domestics crisis, women are likely affected. This affects their health status, whether psychologically or physically. In addition, they also suffer from lack of access to obtaining healthcare services because of cultural limitations and other household responsibilities. The socioeconomic and gender-based biasness facing women contributes to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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