CPHIA 2022: Experts call for inclusion of women in public health decision-making

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CPHIA 2022: Experts call for inclusion of women in public health decision-making | TheCable

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An all-female panel led the first plenary session for the second day of the International Conference on Public Health in Kigali, Rwanda.

“For all of us, it is very personal. COVID-19 really had an impact on women, and as mothers, carers, and health providers, this has made us more conscious of the importance of discussing these issues. Without gender equity, there is no universal health coverage,” said Ihekweazu. “They are more in the background and very few on the front stage despite the fact that most healthcare workers are women.”

“While working as a spokesperson with South Africa’s ministry of health, we approached the Human Science Research Council and said we [want] to see the vaccination [rate] between men and women,” she said.“We were very surprised to find that there was a huge disparity between men and women; in fact, it was the women who were in the lead. So we said, in that case, we need to change [how] we deal with the messaging and get the women to talk to the men.

“Globally, more than 800 million women and adolescent girls die from preventable health issues related to pregnancy and childbirth. Women in Africa account for more than half of the deaths of women worldwide due to communicable diseases. In our region here, adolescent girls and young women are three times more likely to be infected with HIV than boys and men of the same age.

“So women are underrepresented in policymaking, planning and budgeting for healthcare. Is it then surprising that the health needs of women and girls are not fully met anywhere in the world?”

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