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Women’s Health & Pregnancy in Chronic Kidney Disease

Health issues of women do not get as much attention or focus as that of men. Women themselves often ignore symptoms of disease and do not heed warning signs issued by the body. The disparity in access to health care by men and women is proved by statistics which show that the incidence of certain diseases is similar in both men and women, but the percentage of men actually availing treatment is far higher than that of women. Very often, this is the result of the deeply ingrained societal belief that men are superior and bread-winners of the family, and therefore deserve better health care, and even nutrition. With such a situation prevailing, even serious and life threatening conditions go undetected in women.

In the case of kidney disease also, the plight of women is no different. Women are also more likely than men to donate a kidney, while more men than women receive dialysis or undergo kidney transplantation. Even certain government health schemes for the benefit of patients, like free or subsidized treatment or medicines, are utilized more by men than by women. This indicates that expenditure is also not always a criterion for women being denied adequate health care.

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Women across India, living in rural areas face similar issues: Long working hours, poverty, financial constraints, illiteracy, lack of proper hygiene, unconcerned husbands, and medical complications. Poverty, illiteracy and lack of medical facilities inhibit women from reaching out to the nephrologist in time, thus delaying treatment. Their faith in local quacks proves to be a major hindrance. A vital issue is the marriage of young girls who have been afflicted by the disease. Questions of who will marry them, will they survive, will they concieve? – form an endless list. KWF has started campaigns towards creating awareness amongst these women. 

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