Taking healthcare access to women who need it the most
Providing women timely access to preventive healthcare is a crucial component of ensuring their continued well-being. This is particularly so for women from vulnerable communities, who are disadvantaged when it comes to access to healthcare services.
In this context, on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2023, about 300 women and adolescent girls from economically disadvantaged communities in Mumbai were screened through a mega health camp conducted by Sir H.N. Reliance Foundation Hospital. Eighty-five women were found to have elevated blood sugar or blood pressure levels while 281 were found to be anaemic.
The camp, conducted under the hospital’s Health Outreach Programme in collaboration with YMCA, Mumbai, involved general check-up, screening for cervical, breast and oral cancer, nutrition counselling and specialist consultations including gynaecology and orthopaedics. Experts also spoke to the participants at the camp to create awareness about cervical cancer prevention, mental health and the role of technology in healthcare.
“Though I know I am in good health, I decided to get myself checked after my instructor told me about the camp,” Bhakti, a student who is doing a beautician course at YMCA, said. "I want to be better informed about my health status."
Mobile health units and health camps ensure women in vulnerable communities have easy access to healthcare. The programme facilitates free of cost treatment, including for cancers in people who are economically disadvantaged.
Considering the gender gap in access to healthcare, the programme approaches women in most at-need communities through many ways. These approaches include reaching mothers through their wards in schools, seeking the support of community elders to encourage women in communities towards care-seeking and through door-to-door campaigning and awareness creation.
About 2.6 lakh women in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai have been able to access healthcare through the programme over the last 10 years. Through women, the programme has been able to instil health seeking behaviour in many families.
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