Reaching Equal Health in Sri Lanka: A Gender Perspective
Gender equity is at the cornerstone of the Universal health coverage (UHC), where no one is to be left behind. This paper highlights the Sustainable Development goal 5 and goal 3 with relevance to the Sri Lankan situation under the topic of “Reaching equal health: a Gender Perspective. The Sri Lankan Gender Gap Index holds the 116th position out of 152 countries. Higher mortalities are observed in males, while higher morbidity is observed in females. Social isolation and poverty in females are common in addition to the diseases at old age. Gender roles and masculine identities have led men to be more vulnerable to risk behaviours and seek access to healthcare services less. The Gender equity is at the cornerstone of the Universal Health Coverage which should be targeted to provide health services for all individuals and communities which they need, without suffering financial hardship by 2030. Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) is a major determinant of health and females are more vulnerable for that. Unmet need of family planning and abortions are leading causes for maternal mortality. 25,000 abortions occur every year in Sri Lanka. Lesbian, Gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer populations and people with special need are more vulnerable for not getting equal health. Strengthening the health policies and guidelines should be addressed to reduce gender inequalities. Indicators of sex disaggregated data should be included in the routine assessment of all healthcare settings and research agenda should be in place to identify gender inequalities in health research.
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