Access to quality healthcare is one of the primary necessities that every individual is entitled to. However, when we compare men and women and their access to healthcare, we witness a gap; a gap that has rendered women marginalised. Ziqitza, a leading healthcare organisation believes that every individual has equal right to access for healthcare, however, women in India fallback and faces discrimination. Ziqitza Healthcare, builds its argument based on an assessment done by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences that examined the records of 2,377,028 patients that visited AIIMS between January 2016 to December 2016, only 37 percent women received access to healthcare, as compared to a glorious 67 percent of men.
Ziqitza Healthcare Ltd opines that since times immemorial men have had access to healthcare more and this has been majorly due to gender stereotypes and gender norms prevalent and widely practised in our society. And precisely when we thought that nothing more could go more wrong for women, the COVID-19 pandemic reversed the few gains that were made towards reducing gender inequality within the country. The pandemic absolutely ripped apart the socio-economic fabric of the country and widened the already existing biases, gender norms, and inequalities. Ziqitza Rajasthan supports that the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak took India by storm and exposed the vulnerabilities of its healthcare systems and intensified them during the face of the emergency.
While the situation of women in urban areas is commendable, women in rural areas face acute discrimination when it comes to accessing healthcare. Although rural areas face challenges in terms of lack of adequate healthcare infrastructure, Ziqitza Limited, believes that fixing infrastructure cannot be the solution to gender disparity in healthcare. We as a nation must address the barriers that prevent women from accessing healthcare.
In a country like India, where gender disparity is traditionally practised, women’s health is not prioritised. And it is not limited to just reproductive health of women and girls, the situation for non-reproductive healthcare is equally worrisome. India’s sex ratio is low, especially in the states like Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and in Rajasthan. ZHL Rajasthan, points out that even if a girl is born, the neonatal mortality rate of a girl child is greater in comparison to that of a boy child. The reason behind it being the lack of care and lack of nutrition provided to the girl child.
Over the years the Indian government has over introduced many policies and schemes centred around prioritising and promoting healthcare for women, however their implementation needs to be bolstered. Ziqitza Limited Rajasthan believes that apart from building infrastructure for healthcare, India must also work towards cascading a behavioural shift in the way women’s health is perceived. Taking cognisance of the situation and the crisis, the government of India has proposed an outlay of INR 2,23,846 Crore for health and well-being, a 137 % increase from the previous year. The government as part of the newly announced PM Atma Nirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana has also outlayed INR 64,180 Crore to be invested over a period of six years to improve primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare. The aforementioned is exclusive of the goals and objectives of the National Health Mission. The National Health Mission has its own targets and goals to achieve. Ziqitza hopes that the regulatory improvements and restructuring will improve the health outcomes of the country.
Ziqitza Health care limited urges that the government must create a favourable policy environment and encourage public private partnerships (PPPs) for building health infrastructures and work towards creating awareness about women’s health within the country. The PPP model can be leveraged to implement programmes that aim to create awareness about how gender inequality hinders women’s access to healthcare. Policies and programmes must be designed that can overcome the deep rooted socio-cultural practices and promote healthcare for all – not just men, but women as well.
Women are the anchors of any society and contribution cannot be overlooked or undermined. India as a nation must look at devising a holistic and comprehensive regulation that can address all factors – social, cultural, political, and economical, that act as barriers in women’s access to quality healthcare.