Gender inequalities in healthcare.

Story of how a thoughtful mother is helping her daughter grow stronger.

April 7th of each year marks the celebration of World Health Day, and this year the focus is on eliminating healthcare-related inequities. Our nutritionists working with children understand that making healthcare accessible goes beyond putting the child on the right nutrition programs. In India, there are also inequalities between how a girl and boy child are treated.

Monika Jaiswal’s daughter, Komal, was diagnosed with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia at Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital, Varanasi, in December 2020. She says, “We encourage parents of children with cancer to treat their kids fairly. This is a curable disease. Especially for a girl child’s parents who do not treat their child equally because they think it is a waste of time and money.”

According to a study published by BMJ, a global healthcare knowledge provider, there are extensive gender discrimination in women’s healthcare access in India – ‘Younger (30 and below) and older (60 and above) women, and those living furthest away from the hospital were most likely to miss out. The findings prompt the researchers to call for systemic societal and governmental action to correct this gender discrimination.’(1)

Niqhat, our nutritionist at HBCH, is happy with Komal’s mother’s sincerity. She says, “Monika was extremely emotional when Komal was diagnosed. She wanted to save her daughter irrespective of the financial burden of the treatment. They are from a poor background, so the In-Meal and the Supplement Program helped them immensely.” Monika adds, “Niqhat guided us really well throughout the treatment. The food items that we have to buy are very costly outside, and we would not have been able to afford them without Cuddles. I am happy with how my daughter’s health is improving.”

Komal’s nutritional status changed from severe thinness to moderate thinness in a matter of three months. As of March 2021, Komal weighs 25.4 kg and is steadily putting on weight. Komal will need all the necessary strength to get well soon and fulfil her dream of becoming a police officer. And this is just the beginning. Thanks to your help, many girls are getting the opportunity to start afresh!

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About Shreya Gupta

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