اردو(Urdu) English(English) عربي(Arabic) پښتو(Pashto) سنڌي(Sindhi) বাংলা(Bengali) Türkçe(Turkish) Русский(Russian) हिन्दी(Hindi) 中国人(Chinese) Deutsch(German)
Tuesday, May 28, 2024 15:46
Finding the Balance – Population Growth and Water Conservation Enabling Tomorrow: Unveiling Pakistan’s Digital Sisterhood Initiatives Mariam Malik – A Promising Squash Player Women’s Mental Health in Pakistan Muscle Spasms: Causes and Management Benefits of Adding Fish to Your Menu The Art of Table Setting for Formal Dinners Mastering the Morning Rush: A Guide to Effortless Dressing for Work Fun Activities for Chilly Winter Evenings Enhancing Facial Features with Precision and Grace Editor’s Note Dysfunctional Family Dynamics and Women Glow from Within by Nourishing Your Skin with DIY Skincare Elixirs Managing Glass Waste: An Eco-Friendly Approach Meal Planning for Beginners Mental Detox – A Break from Social Media Positive Psychology – Minimizing and Maximizing Preventing Parental Burnout Recipes Sister Zeph :A Saint of Education for the Underprivileged Strategies for Reducing Energy Consumption in Pakistan The Chimera of Freedom of Speech: India’s Suppression of Women Journalists in IIOJK Women of Conflict: Life and Struggles of the Women of IIOJK Editor's Note March 23, 1940: Reminiscing the Past For a Bright Future Accelerating Gender Equality through Economic Empowerment Investing in Women: A Catalyst for Progress Navigating Trials and Triumphs of Military Life The Iron Lady (Poem) Isra Arif: An Aspiring Pakistani Watchmaker Rethinking the Educational Landscape and Pakistani Women Eliminate Paper Clutter and Organize Your Life Digitally Fashion to Filters: Impact of Social Media on Body Image 12 Ways to Navigate the Professional Landscape Balanced Diet in Pregnancy Relaxation After Workday – a Need or a Want DIY Face Masks for Radiant Skin Recipes Editor's Note Joint Services Pakistan Day Parade A Powerful Potrayal of the Indomitable Spirit of Women Empowerment Rise of Women-led Health Startups Within Pakistan Achieving Harmony: Prioritizing Women’s Mental and Physical Wellbeing Breaking Barriers: A Woman’s Inspiring Journey to Becoming a Lieutenant Colonel To Daughters of the Nation Overcoming Challenges and Fulfilling Aspirations Beyond Boundaries: Improving Female Mobility in Pakistan’s Public Transport Networks Career Transitions: Navigating Change and Reinventing Yourself Teaching Empathy and Social Skills to Kids Dietary Fiber: Why It Is Beneficial for You Composting: How to Reduce Food Waste at Home Spring 2024: A Fresh Makeup Palette fot the Season Ahead Editor's Note Challenges of Motherhood for Working Women My Beloved Daughter A Walk Down the Memory Lane: UN Mission in Congo Everlasting Memories Unlocking Women’s Potential Through Skills’ Development Arooj Bashir A Comb of Lies: Female Targeted Disinformation Ovarian Cancer – Its Symptoms and Prevention Building Resilience and Grit in Your Children Minimalist Lifestyle: There Can Be More with Less Healthy Aging and Lifestyle Choices What Makes Reading Most Relevant Today
Advertisements

Hilal Her

Achieving Harmony: Prioritizing Women’s Mental and Physical Wellbeing

April 2024

Pakistan stands at a crossroads, grappling with a myriad of health-related challenges that disproportionately affect its female population. In the vast landscape of Pakistan, where tradition intertwines with modernity, the health and wellbeing of its women remains a critical concern. As a doctor committed to promoting holistic health, I can say that Pakistani women face unique challenges that demand urgent attention. The nexus between mental and physical health forms the cornerstone of a thriving society, yet for many women in Pakistan, accessing adequate healthcare remains a distant dream. In this article, we explore the imperative need for prioritizing mental and physical health for Pakistani women, shedding light on the healthcare sector’s pivotal role. Furthermore, we delve into the inadequacies of the health sector and existing initiatives and propose steps influenced by advancements in global healthcare systems to uplift the wellbeing of women across Pakistan.



Role of the Healthcare Sector
Women and girls possess distinct health requirements that necessitate focused attention and tailored healthcare systems. Men and women have inherent biological and genetic differences that give rise to particular health concerns and issues. These differences have varying effects on their distinctive lifestyles and overall wellbeing. Female healthcare primarily addresses the specific problems and challenges experienced by women and girls, including topics such as contraception, gynecology, pregnancy and childbirth, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and other related matters. While social concerns such as prejudice and inequality might impact the health of women in many countries, the overall state of healthcare relies heavily on the mental and physical well being of women for optimal health.
From high maternal mortality rates to prevalent mental health disorders, women bear the brunt of systemic neglect and societal stigma. The pervasive lack of access to quality healthcare exacerbates these issues, leaving women vulnerable to preventable illnesses and untimely deaths. When it comes to physical health, Pakistani women face multifaceted challenges. Limited access to reproductive healthcare services, inadequate nutrition, and cultural barriers inhibit their ability to maintain optimal health. Maternal mortality rates remain alarmingly high, with preventable complications during pregnancy and childbirth claiming countless lives each year. In the realm of mental health, the stigma attached to seeking help remains a formidable barrier for Pakistani women. Cultural norms often discourage open discussions about mental wellbeing, perpetuating myths and misconceptions. As a result, conditions such as depressive illnesses, anxiety, and postpartum depression go undiagnosed and untreated, leading to profound suffering and diminished quality of life.
Despite the pressing need to prioritize women’s health, the response for its mitigation has been woefully inadequate. Limited funding, outdated healthcare infrastructure, and systemic inefficiencies hamper efforts to improve the healthcare sector. While initiatives like the Lady Health Worker Program(LHWP) have made strides in extending healthcare services to rural communities, significant gaps persist, particularly in mental health provision. However, challenges such as limited funding, infrastructure constraints, and cultural barriers continue to hinder the effectiveness and reach of these programs. 
Society’s imposition of barriers plays a pivotal role in obstructing women’s empowerment, leading to unfavorable health indicators. Some of the hurdles imposed by society include neglecting girls’ education, limiting women’s decision-making authority and mobility, and misinterpreting religious beliefs. Limited access to skilled birth attendants, antenatal care, and family planning resources leads to elevated rates of maternal morbidity and mortality, robbing women of their right to safe and dignified reproductive healthcare. The lack of political will to address women’s health issues perpetuates a cycle of neglect and marginalization. Budget allocations for healthcare fall short of international standards, leaving healthcare facilities ill-equipped to meet the diverse needs of women. Without sustained investment and political commitment, progress towards achieving gender equity in healthcare will remain elusive.
Healthcare Initiatives in Pakistan
Investing in comprehensive healthcare services is paramount to reducing maternal mortality rates and improving maternal health outcomes. By expanding access to family planning resources, antenatal care, and skilled birth attendance, healthcare providers can empower women to make informed decisions about their reproductive health, thereby safeguarding their wellbeing.
Moreover, in Pakistan, several ongoing healthcare initiatives are striving to address the specific health needs of women and promote their overall wellbeing. One prominent initiative is the LHWP, launched in 1994 by the government of Pakistan. This program aims to improve maternal and child health outcomes by deploying trained female health workers to provide doorstep healthcare services in rural and underserved communities. Lady Health Workers (LHWs) are crucial in promoting maternal and child health, family planning, and nutrition among women and families, thereby reducing maternal and infant mortality rates. Additionally, the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) Program by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), supported by international donors and non-governmental organizations, focuses on enhancing access to essential healthcare services for women and children in Pakistan. Through establishing Basic Health Units (BHUs) and Rural Health Centers (RHCs), the MNCH program seeks to improve antenatal care, skilled birth attendance, and postnatal care, particularly in remote and marginalized areas. Furthermore, initiatives such as the National Program for Family Planning and Child Health Program aim to strengthen the healthcare infrastructure, expand access to family planning services, and reduce maternal and child mortality rates through targeted interventions and community engagement. These ongoing healthcare initiatives underscore the commitment of Pakistan’s respective stakeholders and its partners to improving the health and wellbeing of women across the country. 
Way Forward
To chart a path forward, Pakistan can draw inspiration from the healthcare systems of advanced countries that prioritize women’s health as a fundamental human right. Initiatives such as the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom and universal healthcare systems in Scandinavian countries serve as models of comprehensive, equitable healthcare delivery.
The government must allocate sufficient resources to support initiatives to improve maternal health, expand access to mental health services, and promote reproductive rights. Investing in the construction and renovation of healthcare facilities, particularly in rural areas, is essential to ensure equitable access to quality healthcare services for women. 
By training primary healthcare providers to recognize and address mental health issues, women can receive timely and effective treatment for mental illnesses. Launching public health campaigns to destigmatize mental health issues, promote healthy lifestyles, and raise awareness about reproductive health rights can empower women to make informed decisions about their health. Partnerships between government agencies, civil society organizations, and international donors are vital for implementing sustainable solutions and scaling up successful interventions.
Investing in health promotion and preventive care is crucial for mitigating the burden of chronic diseases among women. Public health campaigns raising awareness about the importance of regular screenings, healthy lifestyle choices, and early intervention can empower women to take charge of their health and wellbeing.
The healthcare sector in Pakistan must assume a proactive role in addressing the complex health needs of women. As frontline healthcare providers, doctors are pivotal in advocating for gender-sensitive healthcare policies, promoting health education, and delivering culturally competent care. By integrating mental health screenings into routine healthcare services and offering psychosocial support, doctors can identify and address mental health issues early on, ensuring better outcomes for women. Moving forward, sustained investment and innovative approaches are essential to accelerate progress towards achieving gender equity in healthcare and ensuring that every woman in Pakistan has the opportunity to lead a healthy and fulfilling life.

The importance of prioritizing mental and physical health for Pakistani women cannot be overstated. As guardians of health and advocates for gender equity, doctors are responsible for championing policies and initiatives that address the unique health needs of women. By mobilizing resources, fostering collaboration, and adopting evidence-based strategies, Pakistan can pave the way toward a future where every woman has the opportunity to lead a healthy, fulfilling life.


Email:[email protected]

Article was read 524 times