Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Women at the grassroots level!! A perspective

As part of the FACC initiative, I recently attended a seminar organized by an NGO. The seminar involved participants from Bihar Gujarat, Rajasthan, U.P. etc. and was targeted at educating the representatives about sex- related issues faced by women in their respective regions. Ultimately it is these representatives who carry out simple examinations of the women in their region and apprise them about the basic hygiene elements to be observed and the precautions to be taken so as to ensure that all abnormalities are detected well in advance and appropriate medical treatment is administered.

The revelations at the seminar were indeed shocking. Women in rural India are quite ill informed about the importance of maintaining proper hygiene. Did you know, basic stuff such as the use of sanitary napkins during periods is most uncommon among women in rural India? Let alone use sanitary napkins, the women in question do not even use a clean and sterilized cloth. Given these facts, the high incidence of diseases such as cervical cancer etc. does not come as a surprise.

The fact is further explained by the risk factors that are found in abundance in rural India. Factors such as early onset of sexual intercourse and promiscuity, both of which are quite prevalent in rural India, make the women in these areas extremely prone to developing cervical cancer.

Sporadic programs have been initiated by individual states in India to address the issue of cervical cancer; however it just isn’t sufficient. Contributing one-fourth the total incidence of cervical cancer in the world, India definitely needs to formulate a nation wide focused campaign to combat this deadly disease.

Contributed by: Akshay Joshi, New Delhi


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