Money, access, awareness, diet, lifestyle all play a major role in how we live and most importantly how they impact health especially in women. Increasingly, we see bodies struggling with everyday demands and it is having an impact on reproduction as well.
These days, women’s reproductive health is a major area of concern. Pakistani women are the group of people who are most susceptible to problems with reproduction but it is considered a taboo in our society to talk about reproductive health.
In Pakistan, males are the primary provider of income, hence women turn to them for assistance with all manner of needs which creates a cycle of dependency that can be problematic. Although men are expected to care for their wives, mothers and daughters, generally they have no knowledge of problems with female reproduction. Alot of this is due to the fact that our education system fails to instruct or raise awareness on topics related to reproductive health. In fact, there is great opposition to any institute or instructor who shares or educates children about reproduction.
Such ignorance or lack of awareness has dire consequences such the rise of ovarian cancer. Due to silence surrounding it, women tend to suffer in silence unable to speak out about what they are going through. The tragedy is they end up dying simply because they do not seek medical help.
On the part of the health care systems, there is not much hope as they are either ineffective or lacking in essential components. If it isn’t stigma or lack of access to medical services, it is the cost that limits the ability to seek medical treatment. Consequently, instead of consulting a doctor, people choose to get their medications from medical shop employees. And although the medication reduces the symptoms, it cannot get rid of the underlying problem. With a GDP per capita of 1537, how will Pakistanis be able to pay for extremely expensive medicine?
Medicine, treatment aside, basic necessities for biological needs such as sanitary pads are seen as a luxury. Sanitary pad raw materials are imported. The daily dollar growth drives up the price of imported goods, which drives up the price of the final product (pads). This is not a luxury item, but rather a woman’s fundamental and hygienic need. Rural women don’t know about pads and instead, they use soiled fabric for their period, which leads to excruciating illnesses. They can use reusable pads, which are at least hygienic, but the understanding is still lacking.
There is also lack of deeper understanding of the period cycle and how it is connected to reproduction. While there is a huge population problem, family planning is frowned upon heavily. Added to this is the fear of what will happen especially with hormones.
Interestingly, the problem with reproductive health is more prevalent in urban areas. This is largely due to the lifestyle and food consumption patterns. Junk food consumption is a norm and entertainment is linked with food. In fact food is no longer seen as a means to live but in fact an emotional need. We associate happiness with food. We feed a crying child sugary treats.
And although much awareness is there about risks of sugary food, the demands of life ensure we give in to temptation. Not only does this add financial burden which means things such as medical care take a back seat but it also means health as a general idea is ignored. This can cause reproductive issues in both men and women if our bodies are abused through an unhealthy diet.
I recently had the good fortune of reading your article regarding “Pakistan diet and healthcare system donot help enure parents healthy enough to reproduce” I appreciated your clearly written and thought provoking article,while less has been written on this topic.you drew the attention towrda this issue .lots of people are unaware and ignored these issue…but needs to solve this issue in constructive way.At last keep these good aticles coming.