TITLE: GIRLS’ HEALTH
PAPER TOPIC: PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS OF GIRLS’ HEALTH IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES.
NAME: MASESE OSIEMO GREGORI (Volunteer KENYA)
This paper looks into challenges that are faced by girls that can bring about health challenges of any form. Thus physical, emotional torture, diseases and even death. The challenges covered tries to highlight the most common issues affecting girls in developing countries, their recommendations and conclusions. It tries to give an overview figures and percentages.
Barriers to girls’ education, gender-based violence, child marriage, maternal newborn and child birth, emergencies and disasters, cancer, reproductive health, maternal health, HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, violence against women, mental health, non-communicable diseases, being young.
Health issues affecting girls are making developing countries to loose very potential girls who can make a better life in the future, participate in nation building and be promising people who can work towards their careers. When girls receive equality and education, they are more likely to stay health, gain economic empowerment and become a force for social change. They are also more likely to marry later and have children who are more likely to survive.
Challenges faced by girls’ health
1. Barriers to girls education
-more than 62million girls worldwide are not attending primary and secondary school.
Number of girls=1,162,368,920
Percentage of girls not attending schools;
-5% of the total percentage of girls are not attending schools worldwide.
This is a high percentage.
2. Gender-based violence
– Violence against girls and women is universal problem.
– Both physical and sexual violence can have a detrimental impact on their (girls) education, health and mental well-being.
– They are more vulnerable to harassment and emotional torture as they are perceived to be weak and they don’t tend to have rights and people to fight for them.
3. Child Marriage
-Every year, 15 million girls under the age of 18 will be married i.e. 41,000 each day , nearly 1 girl every 2 seconds, child early and forced marriage is a violation of girls’ rights and a major barrier to girls’ education.
One third of the population of girls in the developing world are married before the age of 18 and in 1 in 9 are married before the age of 15.
Percentage of girls getting married in a year;
4. Maternal, newborn and child health
– Child marriage leads to early pregnancy.
– Child birth are the second leading cause of death among girls aged 15-19 years worldwide.
– Globally, 800 women and girls die needlessly every day from what are often preventable causes related to pregnancy related to pregnancy and childbirth-99% of these deaths occur in developing countries.
5. Emergencies and disasters.
– Natural disasters, war and conflict, girls are at risk.
– They lead to forced jeopardizing situations like early marriage, dangerous work including sex work and human trafficking.
– Among all diseases affecting women, cancer is more common and dangerous where two of the, most common type of cancers affecting women are breast and cervical cancers.
– The latest global figures show that around half a million women die from cervical cancer and half a million from breast cancer each year.
7. Reproductive health
– Sexual and reproductive health problems are responsible for one third of health issues for women between theages of 15 and 44 years.
– Unsafe sex is a major risk factor. This is why it is so important to get services to the 222million women who aren’t getting the contraception services they need.
Percentage of women missing contraception services;
– Sensitization and trainings on benefits of using contraceptives.
– Improving and making available services to all places despite of the locality, region and ethnicity.
– For those from poor backgrounds, sanitary towels should be supplied without negligence.
8. Maternal Health
– A big number of women are now beneficiaries of massive improvements in care during pregnancy and child birth introduced in the last century.
– But those benefits do not extend everywhere and in 2014, 300,000 women died from complications in pregnancy and child birth.
Most of these deaths could have been prevented by access to family planning and to some quite basic services had they been in place.
Percentage of women in need of these services;
– AIDS epidemic has been rampant of late, and most unfortunately it is young women who bear the brunt of new infections.
– There is struggle among young women in protecting themselves against sexual transmission of HIV and treatment they require.
– This leaves them particularly vulnerable to TB, one the leading causes of death of women of age 20-59 years.
10.Sexually Transmitted Infections
– There is an important role of protection against HIV and human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection. (the world’s most common STI)
– It is a vital to do a better job of preventing and treating diseases like gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis.
– More than 200,000 still births and early foetaldeaths every year and over 90,000 new born deaths are caused by untreated syphilis.
11. Violence against women
– They can be subject to a range of different forms of violence; physical and sexual violence either by a partner or someone else is particularly individuals.
– One in three women under 50 has experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a partner or non-partner.
– Sexual violence affects their physical and mental health.
– Girls may also be at risk of abduction and sexual violence and exploitation.
12. Mental health
– It is evident that women are more prone to experience, anxiety, depression and somatic complaints and physical symptoms that cannot be explained medically.
– Depression is the most common mental health problem for women leading suicide. It is another leading cause of death in women below the age of 60.
13. Non-communicable diseases
– In 2013, 4.7 million women from non-communicable diseases before they reached the age of 50.
– They died as a result of;
Road traffic accident,
Harmful use of tobacco,
Abuse of alcohol,
Drug and substance,
– More than 50% of women are overweight in Europe and in America,this makes them prone to diseases.
Helping girls and women adopt health lifestyles early on is key to a long and health life
14. Being young
– Adolescent girls face a number of sexual and reproductive health challenges, about 13 million adolescent girls (under 24 years) give birth every year. Complications for those pregnancies and childbirth are aleading cause of death for those young mothers
– Others may suffer from unsafe abortions
– In developing countries, 20,000girls below age of 18 are giving birth.
1. Equality-when girls will be treated equally as boys and given equal priorities to education, they are more likely to stay a health and stress free life and they gain more skills and knowledge on how to manage themselves.
2. Policies and laws to be put in place that are to be used against those who are violating these young girls, and if already in place, they must be fully reinforced and implemented without fail.
3. Early girl child education and sensitization-girls should undergo an intensive training on marriage, early child birth and their impacts in ones’ life. e.g. fistula, abortions, afterbirth complication.
They should also be taught some defense mechanism skills to be employed in cases of rape.
4. In cases of emergencies and disasters, let security measures be put in place. My opinion is that all the female be put aside and guarded by fellow female officers to avoid and minimize cases of rape from male guards. This will reduce rape cases and spread of infections.
5. Regular tests should be done and precaution measures of some diseases should be done at specified times and ages as it is not possible to determine when a particular infection or complication can arise. These can help in early infection management.
6. Treatment of accidentally contracted diseases. Diseases that have been contracted should be treated as early as possible. Let no medical officer discriminate either patient but receive the patient with humblenessin order to motivate those suffering to come for the treatment instead of hiding from trauma and dismissal from treatment by the personnel.
Resent researches show that most medical officers tend to torment clients.
7. Close attention and care to the diet taken by our young girls that will distort their bodies when growing and in cases of child birth. Obesity also affects our young women as it may bring about Non-communicable diseases, child birth.
-regular body checkups should be made a routine
-increased centers and counseling services at different levels with friendly and qualified personnel.
-incases of early child birth, those young girls should be encouraged to go back to school.
1. Bruce J, Sestad J: building assets for safe and reproductive lives; A report on a workshop on adolescent girls’ livelihoods; 2004.
2. Baird SJ, Garfein RS, Mclntosh CT, Ozler B. Effect of cash transfer for schooling on prevalence of HIV and herpes simplex type 2 in Malawi 2012.
3. Austrian K,Muthengi E. Safe and small savings products for vulnerable adolescent girls in Kenya and Uganda. Evolution report 2013.
4. Campell C, MacPhail C. peer education, gender and the development of critical consciousness: Participatory HIV prevention by South African Youth, social science and medicine 2002..
5. Currie j, Goodman J. Parental social economic status, child health and human capital. International encyclopedia of education. 2010
6. Lloyd CB. Education for girls: alternative pathways to girls’ empowerment. Paper commissioned by Girl Hub, a strategic partnership between Nike Foundation and the UK Department for international Development 2013.
7. ErulkarA, Ferede A. Social exclusion and early or unwanted sexual initiation among poor urban females in Ethiopia. International perspective on sexual and reproductive health 2009.
8. Orringer K.Gahagan S. Adolescent girls define menstruation: A multiethnic exploratory study. Health care for women international 2010
9. LawanU,Nafisa WY, Musa AB.Menstruation and menstrual hygiene amongst adolescent girls in Kano, Northwestern Nigeria. African journal of reproductive health 2010.
10. Silva M.the effectiveness of school-based sex education programs in the promotion of abstinent behavior: A meta-analysis. Health education research 2002.