The Women’s Health Strategy: Will Black women’s health be part of it?

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We’ve seen the announcement across media about the launch of the UK Government’s Women’s Health Strategy* It’s being reported that “Doctors in England will be given mandatory training to better treat female medical conditions under wider plans to improve women’s health”**. Knowing there may be a focus for female health problems in future brings some relief. Like other women I applaud the Government for doing this.

Women’s health issues

Suffering with menstrual problems, fibroids, menopause related issues are just a few of the problems alot of us women go through. I’ve read numerous accounts of women who suffer with endometriosis being told they are imagining it. Being ‘dismissed’ as something that isn’t that serious has been a common theme. Women with fertility problems and those starting menopause (peri-menopause) have found it difficult to find information about symptoms and sources of support. All of this has happened before we get to hormone imbalance issues. I really hope the Department of Health haven’t forgotten to include this in the Strategy!)

Women’s health v men’s health

While I feel blessed to live in a country with the NHS, one of it’s biggest shortcomings is that it was created by men, who thought a woman’s body should behave the same as a man’s. Over the years, nothing was done to elevate the health needs of women. This alone has created prolonged UK health inequalities between the genders.

As a woman and a British taxpayer, it’s unbelievable that female health has been relegated for so long. For too long women and girls have endured physical, emotional and in some cases mental distress from their suffering.

Stories about women being told they’re ‘going a bit funny’, when battling menopause hormone changes. Or women and girls being told that painful, heavy periods are normal. Just take a painkiller and deal with it. It’s no surprise that numerous women have created social media platforms and some products to address female health issues. Something the Department of Health should have addressed years ago.

A new phase for Black women’s health?

Does this mean that we have a strategy that will be truly diverse and include Black women’s health needs? The topic of Black women’s maternal deaths and the alarming statistic that Black women four times more likely to die in childbirth was highlighted*** We’re often told that Black women seem to have more fibroids than white women. Will this Strategy take into account any cultural differences. For example, the differences in how a Black girl is raised and cultural expectations, will this be considered? These are just a few of the issues I’ll be interested to see if this Health Strategy will address.

I’m sure alot of women will continue contacting networks. Reading online Blogs and social media posts to be informed. Women and girls will continue to share information about remedies which help us. Us Black women – mothers, sisters and friends will always share what we know among ourselves. Giving a voice to our pain and supporting eachother is the only way we’ve kept going all these years.

So, while I wait with some hope, we need to have clarity on what this Strategy will actually do for the female health inequalities. Whether this Health Strategy works or not, I definitely know that women can always rely on other women’s support with their health battles.

#Afrowomanonline #Womenshealth #Blackwomenshealth #Healthstrategy

*Source: Department of Health: Women’s Health Strategy

**Source: BBC News

***Source: Guardian.com

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