There is a direct link between the health statuses of women and women’s low societal standing in Pakistan. This correlation is strengthened with the latest United Nation’s released report on women’s health presents a poor picture of women health in Pakistan. According to the report, 48.1 percent of female population of the country lacks participation in decisions regarding their health care.
Pakistan ranks third worst country in the world if numbers of maternal deaths are taken into account. There are many factors responsible for such problems. However, more important is the lack of resources even for those who wish to seek treatment.
The dogmatic and extremely narrow approach to women’s rights and indifference towards women’s health is the main reason why women are not able to get the proper medical attention. Women are at times not even allowed by other women to undergo medical treatment or visit a doctor. The tribal and rural concept of home deliveries is another reason why patients remain undiagnosed of medical complications and later on suffer for the remainder of their lives.
Besides other factors that serve as hurdles in improving women’s health include low investment in the health sector, rapid population growth. The state needs to take revolutionary steps to enhance the status of health in general and women health in particular. Investment in health has a long-term beneficial effect. It improves health outcomes, reduces poverty and contributes to promoting economic growth. At the backdrop of this perspective, the federal, as well as provincial governments are spending sufficient amount on health and education to bring the social sector into the main stream of development.
Social dogmas further limit the rights and access of women to reproductive health services. Domestic violence remains a chief cause of complications related to pregnancy including unwanted pregnancies, lack of access to family planning services, unsafe abortions or injuries due to abortion, complications due to frequent and high-risk pregnancies, lack of follow-up care, sexually transmitted infections, and other psychological problems.
There is widespread and chronic malnutrition among women and young children, especially girl children, against whom there is cultural and social discrimination in the distribution of household resources. Women lack the power within their families to decide on the number of children they want. Patriarchal values system and gender biases affect women’s choices and health and consequently their work, economic productivity and sense of wellbeing.
Pakistan is a signatory to a number of international commitments to improve the status of women health . To achieve the targets of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Islamabad needs to carry more efforts to improve the health of women .