Custom «Issues in Women Health» Essay Paper Sample

Issues in Women Health

Notions of Health Care Reform

A health care reform refers to changes in the policies of governments that affect the delivery of health care in a given country. Some of the notions of health care reforms include broadening the populace that receives the coverage of health care through private and public insurance programs. The second notion is to create a wide range of health care providers so that consumers can have wider choices (Armstrong at al, 2004). The third is the improvement of access to health care specialist and improve health care quality. The other notion is to decrease the cost of health care and give health care to a larger part of the population. In Canada, there is a proposed health care reform that satisfies the above notions. In the proposed health care system, America government will be involved in the provision of healthcare services to all people equally. The proposed reforms will therefore dismantle the conventional system that many have christened institutional oppression.

Most  people cannot access healthcare services and provision of the universal healthcare will solve this problem.  One of the biggest problems facing the average Canadian is the skyrocketing costs of healthcare.  This has made them more vulnerable to maladies due to inaccessibility of the healthcare.   Other aspects of the proposed reform is the use of information systems and technology in the health industry, use of decision making in the medicine field backed up by extensive research and measures for mitigating widespread health conditions affecting the lives of the people of Canada. The citizens are positive about the proposed reforms and they feel that the existing system denies most people health coverage. The rising cost of living is making people to pay more money for less healthcare coverage. The hardest hit is the women who are continuously denied access to quality reproductive healthcare and this leads to upsurge of cases of poor health among woe. Thus, universal healthcare will come in handy in solving this problem.

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The healthcare reforms will bridge the existing disparities brought about by the economic crisis because it will ensure equitable provision of healthcare. With estimates that the leading cause of bankruptcy is due to money spent on healthcare and the projected rise in health services. In this bill there is healthcare insurance which will ensure that every   national is completely covered (Gustafson 2009). There will not be a single citizen of the United States of America who will be denied health insurance coverage because of their state or condition of health.    

The proposed healthcare scheme   will encompass every element of medical services. Inclusive is the maternal, mental and preventative services. The new healthcare schemes will also address the costs of healthcare. One method of reducing costs will be the introduction of disease mitigation programs and the involvement of health providers in the employee healthcare benefit program. This is because medical experts will have more information which will improve the healthcare services they provide. The  healthcare reform bill proposes some of the following items to be include in the universal healthcare    that there will be a commissioner of health who will decide the treatments that will benefit individuals and a government committee that will help the commissioner in the same function.

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All citizens   will be provided with healthcare services regardless of whether they are legal or illegal citizens. Every citizen will be given a national identification health card and the federal government will be allowed to access all the accounts of  the people to facilitate electronic wiring of the medical funds. All healthcare plans, whether private or public should be inline with the government policies to facilitate healthcare exchange. ACORN and Aerators will be required to sign up individuals for the healthcare system that will be run by the government. Government will not be susceptible to legal actions by individuals or companies for fixing prices and the government will have a leeway in setting wages. Finally and most importantly, every employer will be required to sign all employees into the healthcare plan run by the government.  

The Fundamental Paradox of Childbirth

The fundamental paradox of childbirth refers to the dichotomy that the breach caused by the head of the baby assumes. On one hand, there is a contemplation of a wide range of complexities while on the other hand, here is a balance that involves entwining the new born baby and the furore that one assumes (Breitkreuz et al, 1999). Balancing this with the extreme level of delicacy upon which the regurgitation is based on and this comprises the paradox of childbirth. This paradox of child birth has led to rising cases of caesarean rates especially in United States of America. There is a plan to medicalize and standardize obstetrics something that has been reducing choices within hospitals set aside for childbirth for women. This is because, despite the implied promise of safety should all the rules and standards are followed, the use of electronic foetal monitoring, ID bracelets  and intravenous lines may force labour in women to follow a path that is unpredictable in this case, the definition of normal becomes narrow and deviance toleration levels go down. The final stage of this artificial process in childbirth takes the birth process away from the women because it becomes a surgical procedure that a doctor performs.

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Women are supposed to give birth but when the natural process of childbirth does not make due to the choices the women make, then the focus of the process shifts from the woman to the surgeon performing the operation. This makes childbirth a manufactured experience that alienates women from the natural capabilities of her body turning her into a package on a surgeons table waiting to be opened (Fox, 2000). While most caesarean are maternal requests, the rate at which these requests are being made has become  quite intriguing and this does not any longer demonstrate increased autonomy or real choice for the women . In United States of America, there have been debates about how women are entitled to autonomy while they are making their birth choices meaning that it is quite ethical to perform caesarean upon maternal request even if there are no health reasons or complications that warrant the caesarean option. It is interesting to note that this much vaunted autonomy ends at the maternity room. Nowadays, women are being implicitly encouraged to make the caesarean choice and the paradox is, though this represents the power of a woman to make a choice regarding child birth, it reduces her own power and increases the power of a physician over her body.

The modern upper middle class woman support fewer delivery options yet they have the least number of obstacles, whether social or economic, to autonomy. Maternity wards where childbirth is supposed to take a natural path have been turned into baby factories because of the high caesarean rates among well insured women(Breitkreuz et al, 1999). It is a paradox that with the highest levels of income and the highest levels of education plus commercial insurance are the ones who opt for caesarean delivery. They reduce themselves into packages to be manipulated on the surgeons table. If caesarean option is a response to any form of risk, then we expect women from poorer backgrounds and without health cover to go for it because there is no sense in having women who have a statistically lower risk of a negative outcome to prefer caesarean delivery option. The paradox is that areas that have the highest caesarean rates do not have lower levels of prenatal or maternal mortality (Germaine, 2003).

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Breast Cancer and Social construction of Beauty

One of the hardest things for those women diagnosed with breast cancer is the ability to come to terms with the loss of breasts and the effect this loss has on the body image of a woman, self esteem of the woman and the entire femininity of that woman. The aforementioned are the major issues that confront women who have lost a breast due to this malady. Furthermore, the social construction of beauty perpetuated through the media and messages from the cosmetic industry create a beauty myth that dents the self esteem of those women that have been diagnosed with breast cancer. This emphasis on the aesthetic loss precedes the grief associated with losing a part of the body. In the light of the beauty myth existing in the socially constructed notion of beauty, women who have lost a breast due to breast cancer worry much about their looks than the disease that is afflicting them. Evidence from interview conducted on survivors of the disease indicate that most of them, upon losing a breast, they start behaving like teenage boys, looking at the breasts of other women and admiring them.

Losing a breast is traumatic because a breast is an important symbol of femininity, beauty and women's image. Its absence completely distorts the socially constructed notion of beauty. Losing a breast leaves a woman to deal with issues of self confidence, image and esteem which may affect the entire personality of a woman. Breast cancer leads to many physical and psychological complications in a woman. To start with, it leads to mastectomy scars on the woman which completely alters the shape a woman, stealing away her beauty. Radiations used to treat the disease can lead to soreness of the area that has been affected and this leads to immense discomfort. Chemotherapy leads to hair loss in women bearing in mind that hair is another symbol of feminine beauty. These body changes can be challenging to a woman but it can impact more heavily on younger women who have a lot of attachment to beauty than their older counterparts. Research documents that younger women are more bothered by these physical changes in the body as a result of breast cancer than the older women. The younger women suffer more psychological trauma than the older ones   who do not even have stronger response mechanisms to deal with these changes.

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Women with breast cancer tend to feel as if their bodies have neglected them and the loss of one or both breasts makes them feel as if their femininity and entire lives have been brought to a dead end. Due to the loss of self image, esteem and intimacy, the personality of these women who have been robbed of their beauty by the disease changes dramatically. They begin to avoid intimacy and interaction with people. Sometimes they even fear to dress in front of their spouses and also limit their frequency of bathing. These behaviors however lessen with time as the women accept to live with that condition. Accepting ones body after a breast cancer attack may be quite difficult but the most important thing is getting ahead of the problem by taking actions such as planning for a prosthesis or breast reconstruction. Counseling and individual support of the affected women can help them to make a sound transition to the new body architecture. In conclusion, it does not matter whether a breast cancer patient has decided to preserve their breasts, has decided to remove or reconstruct them, learning to accept and love her body after the cancer diagnosis is a herculean task and the most important thing for them is to include their families, friends and partners in the process of treating cancer.

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Why is an understanding of the interactions between women and their environment crucial to women's health?

In the recent history, issues related to the interactions between women and the environment have received widespread attention due to the impact of the environment on the health of women especially the reproductive health. There have been calls to educate women on the impact that the environment has on their overall health because lack of this understanding can be dangerous. To start with, women need to understand the environmental factors that compromise their health so that they can shelter themselves away from these factors. Most health complications in women are caused by ignorance about how the environment impacts on their health meaning that there is a need for them to understand the interaction between their environment and their personal health. Environment ranges form the food they eat, the drinks and other things that they take, the things they apply on their bodies and the adjacent environments they are exposed to. Cases of lung cancer in women are on the increase. Lung cancer used to be predominantly a male disease but there is an increasing evidence of women suffering from lung cancer due to environmental aspects. Though there is increasing number of women a smoker globally, there are other environmental factors that are responsible for the high rates of this disease among women. Exposure to tobacco smoke and other environmental fumes and airborne particles in their indoor settings have contributed to this prevalence. Fumes and smoke emitted by the fuels they use to cook, incense burning and the use of mosquito coils have been considered to be potential risks

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Another common disease in women is the breast cancer and this is also related to the interaction between the women and their environment though some cases are genetic. This disease can be caused by intake of foods that are not conducive to the bodies of the women, use of birth control pills and even some of the cosmetics they use. Most of these cosmetics have not been tested well and they tend to contain carcinogens that may be harmful to the body of a woman. Apart from being toxic and irritating, they can disrupt the hormonal system and exposé the women to deadly risks such as breast cancer.

The above illustrations of how the environment can pose several risks to the health of a woman emphasize the need for the women to understand how they interact with their environment. The environment can be a great source of health and personal wellbeing if one understands it and develops mechanisms of relating well with it but it can also be a source of ill health if one does not fathom how to relate with it. This means that women, for the sake of their health must study their adjacent environments and their product and know what is good for them and what is not good for them. They should be able to understand all the health risks posed by all the environmental parameters in their surroundings because this will enable them to make the necessary precautions aimed at mitigating serious diseases that may compromise their personal health.

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Factors that Affect Women's Sexual and Reproductive Health

There are several factors that affect the sexual and reproductive health of women around the world one of the factors is the state of health care services and systems around the world especially in the third world countries.

Most countries are experiencing a lot of difficulty in their attempts to provide health care to women. Health resources have become scarce leading to inefficiency of the health systems thus compromising the health services they offer. The area of sexual and reproductive health in women has been greatly affected by this collapse in the health care systems because of the unavailability of enough qualified personnel and lack of facilities to provide adequate health sexual and reproductive health care to women. Most qualified sexual and reproductive health care specialists are not willing to work in public health establishments due to the low rates of remuneration and they have gone private. Private health care is not easily accessible to women in the lower rungs of the social ladder and they have to make do with the low quality services provided in public health facilities.

The second factor that affects the sexual and reproductive health of women is sexually transmitted diseases. Little knowledge about STD has increased the risks of infections and this has been accentuated by lack of proper services and support programs has made young girls and women more vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections.











Family planning issues also impact on the sexual and the reproductive health of women. Maintaining control over their production is a fundamental prerequisite for women. However, many national health programs do not prioritize family planning and this limits the reproductive choices that women have. This has led to widespread availability of illegal abortion centers despite the fact that national health programs are supposed to provide contraceptives that would forestall the need for abortion

Ignorance is another factor that affects the sexual and reproductive health of women. This has led women to engage in practices that can endanger their sexual and reproductive health. Lack of information has proved to be one of the biggest hindrances to quality sexual and reproductive health among women especially in third world countries. Sex education is a key ingredient in the provision of reproductive health. Women need to know how to take care of their bodies so as to keep them free from complications that might endanger their sexual and reproductive health meaning that for sustainable sexual and reproductive health to be maintained in women there must be strong structures that will ensure that women get adequate information regarding their reproductive health

Finally, the environment has also impacted negatively on the sexual and reproductive health of women. Poor women who live in squalid environment have more sexual and reproductive health complications than their counterparts who live in conducive surroundings. Exposure to harsh and unhealthy environments has really affected the sexual and reproductive health of many poor women in third world countries. This accentuated by lack of sexual and reproductive health information and unavailability of proper health care systems puts the sexual and reproductive health of women at risk.

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In terms of health care, how are the experiences of women who have suffered intimate partner violence similar to the experiences of women who been diagnosed with cancer.

There are several similarities and differences between women who have suffered intimate partner violence and those that have been diagnosed with breast cancer. To start with, both conditions affect the self image and the self esteem of a woman. Intimate sexual violence reduces a woman into a sexual object to be manipulated by men and this robs her of her independence, dignity and feminine honor (Geer, 1971). The woman starts suffering from self hate, avoids social interactions and her personality may be changed entirely. The same thing happens to a woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer robs women of their femininity and self image which completely alters their personality (Batt, 2002).

Secondly both conditions violate the body of a woman. Every woman has a special attachment to their bodies and any violation of the body has far reaching consequences on the psychological state of a woman. Intimate sexual violence involves unwarranted intrusion into the body of a woman and it has the same psychological impacts as rape. Breast cancer also violates the body of a woman, robbing her of one of the most vital body parts and the psychological impact of this loss is quite devastating, however, there are some differences between   experiences of women who have suffered intimate partner  and experiences of women who been diagnosed with cancer. To start with, intimate sexual violence does not leave physical scars on the body of women and as such, it is hard for someone to identify a woman who has been violated intimately.

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The scars are only psychological and they do not affect the physical appearance of a woman. On the other hand, breast cancer leaves physical scars on the women especially when both or one breast has to be removed. The chemotherapy process also affects the women's hair meaning that the disease affects the physical beauty of a woman (Ritmayer, 2000). This physical loss is more devastating than the psychological effects of sexual violation meaning that it is easier for a woman who has experienced intimate sexual violence to recover from that experience that for a woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. The effects of breast cancer on the women are physically permanent which completely alters the life of women. This means that the experiences of breast cancer patient are by far much harsher than that of a woman who has experienced intimate sexual violence.

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