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Health and Hygiene Concerns for Rural Women

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  • Published
    5th Nov, 2020

As defined by WHO -'Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of any disease or infirmity'.

Women's Health refers to the branch of medicine that focuses on the treatment/diagnosis of diseases or conditions that affect a woman's physical and emotional well-being.

Health is one of the fundamental human rights. As per Article 47 of the India's Constitution - "The State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties and, in particular, the State shall endeavor to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health"

National Health Policy (NHP; launched in 1983) was revamped in 2017 with an aim to inform, clarify, strengthen and prioritise the Government's role in shaping the health systems holistically covering all its dimensions: health related investments, organisation of the healthcare services, disease prevention and promotion of good health through appropriate inter-sectoral coordination, use of updated technologies, human resource development, strengthening healthcare systems and health assurance. Further, NHP has identified priority areas for improving health of the people through coordinated action which include:

  • Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
  • Balanced, healthy diet and regular exercise
  • Addressing tobacco, alcohol and substance abuse
  • NirbhayaNari -action against gender violence
  • Reducing indoor and outdoor air pollution

Govt initiatives to support health and nutrition in rural India specially for women-

  • LaQshya programme: To reduce maternal mortality and still birth
  • Universal sanitation campaigning to reach ODF under SBMG and ODF++
  • National Rural Drinking water programme which aims to provide safe drinking water to rural population
  • Jal Jeevan Mission aims to connect every rural household with tapped water connection by 2022.
  • Menstrual Hygiene Scheme (MHS) for promoting menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls (aged between 10-19 years) in rural areas with the aim to increase their awareness regarding menstrual hygiene; improve access and increase the use of high-quality sanitary napkins; and to ensure their safe as well as environment friendly disposal.
  • ASHA workers and Anganwadicentresare given responsibility to ensure healthy menstrual hygiene practices and discuss other relevant sexual and reproductive health issues
  • SABLA program stresses on awareness regarding health and hygiene among women.
  • The key components of National Health Mission (NHM) include - AnaemiaMukt Bharat; organization of Village Health camp; Sanitation & Nutrition days (for providing maternal & child health services and awareness generation regarding maternal & child care); Iron and Folic Acid (IFA) supplementation; calcium supplementation and promotion of iodized salt consumption.
  • Under National Iron Plus Initiative (NIPI) programme, for control of Iron deficiency anaemiaacross life stages, iron and folic acid supplements are being given.
  • Intensified National Iron Plus Initiative (I-NIPI) is aimed at reducing the prevalence of anaemiaby 3 percentage point per annum.
  • Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) is being implemented for reducing maternal and neonatal mortality by promoting institutional delivery among pregnant women belonging to under-privileged families.

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