Patient Advocates of the Month

In the spirit of International Women’s Day, this month we decided to ask some of our dynamic City Chapter Leaders what their views are on this year’s theme “Equity in Healthcare”.

1. Mini John, FOM Mumbai City Chapter Leader

Every person deserves to live a healthy life. Equity ensures everyone has access to the same treatment, opportunities and growth. It aims to identify and eliminate the barriers that prevent the full participation of some groups.

Though equal opportunities are guaranteed by the Constitution irrespective of caste, creed and gender, still “Equity in Healthcare” is a real challenge for healthcare professionals and it will require a collaborative effort to achieve it.

2. Poonam Kankani, FOM Kolkata City Chapter Leader

Good health is a fundamental human right. Equity is about fairness to all when it comes to opportunity to access health care facilities. Unfortunately, many social and environmental factors can become barriers to a person’s access to healthcare. I feel that health seminars and awareness programmes designed to cater to certain groups of the society will be effective steps towards achieving equity in healthcare. Better education, and low-cost services would also be very beneficial. Equal opportunity for health is the foundation of a vibrant and healthy society.

3. Seema Bhasin, FOM Delhi City Chapter Leader

Being a caregiver often calls us to lean into love we didn’t know was possible. My caregiver mantra is to remember that the only control you have is over changes you choose to make to care for those who once cared for us. It is one of the highest honours.

4. Monica Kapoor, FOM Delhi City Chapter Leader

Gender disparity has a deep impact in all sectors of our society including healthcare. Equity in healthcare can only prevail if both men and women share equal opportunities and social status but cultural norms and expectations imposed on women lead them to have poorer access to healthcare resources.

The preference of a male child, males being the authority figure in most households along with factors such as lack of female education and employment – all lead to reduced access to healthcare for women and girls and increase the risk of physical and mental illnesses amongst them. In many households, females are burdened with the responsibility of taking care of the entire family sometimes to the extent of ignoring her personal health requirements to fulfil their expectations. This, along with certain norms where females cannot leave their homes without a male partner or cannot make any decisions regarding their health without their partner makes healthcare even more inequitable for women.

It is an immediate requirement to bring about cultural and policy changes through education, women empowerment, workload division and paid employment for women. It is also essential to provide a helping hand through social and government organisations to help uplift women living in poverty and provide them with the opportunities and equity in healthcare that they deserve.