Research in many countries has shown that women often do not seek care for gyencological health problems even when medical care is available. Two reasons for this are: 1) the lack of sensitive and empathic gynecologic care; and 2) the lack of women medical professionals. In response, the Swasthya Community Health Partnership in rural South India is developing an alternative model of care to meet women's needs - the well woman clinic, run by women community health workers (CHWs). The CHWs are local village women who have been participating in an on-going training program in community health and nursing designed by an international group of health professionals in collaboration with a local hospital since September 1997. The training has emphasized gaining specific clinical skills, as well as adopting a feminist-inspired perspective on women's health care. In the well woman clinics, women can access medical care, confidential counseling services, and information regarding health. Through our experiences, we have found that women have felt safe to discuss sensitive issues such as domestic violence, which are usually not raised in clinical settings. The well woman clinics have thus been an empowering experience. The CHWs have gained self-esteem and confidence as a result of their ability to respond to the needs of women in their communities. Women in Sringeri now have access to an alternative model of medical care - one which empowers them with information, which is sensitive to their feelings and fears, and which provides them with a space to share their concerns.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this session, the participant (learner) will be able to: 1. Identify barriers to medical care faced by women, particularly in the context of developing countries. 2. Describe the elements of a woman-focused community-based model of care
Keywords: Women's Quality Care, Community-Based Partnership
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA