Women and Health
In the field of health, the main area where serious Gender Equality concerns exist is the sphere of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Most health indicators in SRHR are especially worrying: high maternal mortality, low prevalence of contraceptive use and low percentages of births in the presence of skilled birth attendants. It is crucial to invest in equal health access not only because it constitutes a basic human right, but also because it produces many concrete benefits. These extend from improving the overall health of individuals and families, to promoting economic growth, and contributing to Gender Equality and social inclusion.
2. Practical example of implementation
The Fistula Rehabilitation and Reintegration Project in Liberia is a good practice to enhance women’s reproductive health and economic empowerment.
Women with fistula are often rejected by their husbands, their families and their communities. The Fistula Rehabilitation and Reintegration Center (FRRC) in Liberia treat young women with various types and severity of fistula. The stories of women fistula survivors are stories of deep pain. The FRRC gives them medical treatment, courage and training to start a new life and to return proudly to their communities as ambassadors and role models for those who have not got the opportunity to seek help.
Obstetric fistula, a hole in the vagina or rectum caused by labour that is prolonged without treatment, is one of the most serious injuries of childbearing. Early marriage, violence, female genital mutilation, malnutrition which is linked to underdevelopment of the female body and lack of education/illiteracy also put women at great risk for developing obstetric fistula.
Because the fistula leaves women leaking urine or faeces, or both, it typically results in social isolation, depression and deepening poverty.