More than 15 billion women (61 per cent) worldwide were not tested for any of the most prevalent, pernicious and damaging diseases women face such as cancer diabetes, high blood pressure and sexually transmitted diseases/infections (STDs/STIS) in the last one year.
Despite heart disease being the leading cause of death globally for women and men, only one in three women worldwide had their blood pressure tested in the previous 12 months, said the first Global Women’s Health Index, developed by medical tech company, Hologic. They came up with the report based on the experiences of more than 60,000 women and girls from 116 countries. The Index ranks countries with a score out of 100. The global average is just 54. Hologic says the highest score (69 out of 100) went to Taiwan and the lowest to Peru (36). The Hologic Global Women’s Health Index is a multiyear, globally comparative survey that tracks multiple health issues essential to improving the health, quality of life and life expectancy of the world’s women and girls.
Hologic’s Chairman, President and CEO, Stephen MacMillan said, “we saw a clear need for more robust, quality data to track and measure women’s health on a global level – particularly as COVID-19 has worsened longstanding healthcare disparities.”
CHILDBIRTH AND HEALTH OUTCOMES
In almost all regions covered by the Index, women who became pregnant at a young age (under 19) were more likely to experience life-long negative effects on their education, health and livelihoods. This is true everywhere other than Australia and New Zealand, which buck this global trend.
Cancer remains one of the most prevalent – and most worrying – illnesses for millions of people. It is the second-leading cause of death globally (heart disease is the biggest killer) and caused an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018, according to the Hologic index The most common causes of death by cancer for both men and women in 2020 were:
- Lung (1.8 million deaths) Colon and rectum (935,000 deaths)
- Liver (830,000 deaths)
- Stomach (769,000 deaths)
- Breast (685,000 deaths)
Despite this, cancer screening rates for women, worldwide, remain low. The Hologic Index found that: “No country or territory has tested more than 38 per cent of women for any type of cancer – and in a host of countries, the percentage is less than ten per cent”. South Korea scored the highest. By comparison, fewer than one per cent of women in Pakistan said they had been tested for cancer in the preceding 12 months.
The report mentioned that women scored 68 on the Emotional Health dimension of the Index, ranging from 89 in Taiwan to a low of 39 in Iraq. Women below 75 years of age were more likely to experience negative feelings, as were those who experienced their first pregnancy before age 19, the study said, It pointed out that about four in ten women experienced worry and 38 per cent said that they were stressed. Sadness (26%) and anger (23%) were also common
- Just 12 per cent of women said in 2020 that they have been tested for any type of cancer in the past 12 months.
- About one in five (19 per cent) women reported being tested in the previous 12 months for diabetes,
- Fewer than one in nine women had been tested for sexually transmitted diseases or infections in the previous 12 months
- Most women (88 per cent) believe checkups help improve people’s health but many (40 per cent) haven’t seen a healthcare professional in the past 12 months
- More than 800 million women do not feel safe walking alone.
- Two in three women worldwide – or about 1.7 billion women – say domestic violence is a widespread problem in their country. Nearly six in 10 men agree.
- Three in 10 (30 per cent) women in 2020 – or more than 750 million worldwide – report experiencing physical pain during a lot of the previous day
- One in five (20 per cent) women in 2020 – or more than 500 million women – say they have health problems that prevent them from doing things people their age normally do.
- In 2020, 34 per cent of women – or nearly 900 million women – struggled to afford food in the past year. –
- Nearly three in 10 women – or nearly 700 million – say there had been times the past year when they were unable to afford adequate shelter.