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Restoring women and children’s future in healthcare in J&K – Dr Navneet Kaur writes

By: Dr Navneet Kour

Women and children are the backbone of society. Without their progress and well-being, societal growth and sustenance would be unattainable. However, in our country, particularly in our state of Jammu and Kashmir, women and children often find themselves marginalized and treated as mere assets or liabilities in underprivileged areas. To empower the women and children of our Union Territory and eventually the whole country, it is essential to prioritize their well-being, with a particular focus on their healthcare and future prospects.

The United Nations rightly states, “Poor health constitutes suffering and deprivation of the most fundamental kind.” The urgency in addressing healthcare requirements for women and children, especially in rural and underprivileged regions, demands our immediate attention.

In line with the World Health Organization’s definition of health as a “state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being,” we must adopt a multi-pronged approach to improve the status of women and children through healthcare. First and foremost, increasing knowledge and awareness is crucial to pave the way for societal change. Educational programs must cover various topics related to female and children’s health, including menstrual health, sanitation, sexual health, and harassment awareness. Additionally, workshops should be organized to educate families on child growth stages and the evolving needs of the family. To help women and children break free from dependency, lifestyle and health skills workshops should be conducted, empowering them to take charge of their own health.

Family plays a central role in Indian society, and for women and children, empowerment within the family unit is paramount. Community engagement at the familial level is essential to promote health restoration and empowerment. This includes seminars and programs focused on family health, contraceptive awareness, and nutrition. Empowering women to make informed choices about family planning will alleviate financial and health burdens. Kitchen garden training can further empower families to maintain healthy nutrition practices.

Mental health is gaining increasing importance in today’s world. In Jammu and Kashmir, where people face various challenges, mental health support becomes even more critical. Social activists, workers, and counselors must collaborate to provide mental health training and counseling for those in distress. Self-help groups can play a crucial role in supporting individuals’ mental well-being.

To ensure healthcare empowerment reaches every individual, a vast network of social workers, trained professionals, and volunteers should be established. This network would conduct regular awareness campaigns and identify healthcare issues in different populations. Special attention should be given to children with diverse needs, with dedicated institutions and trained professionals to support them.

Government accountability and social service involvement must work hand in hand to achieve social justice for all. A multi-stakeholder approach will ensure government schemes effectively reach the grassroots. Organizations like Care, SUPPORT NGO, Directorate of Health Services, NHM National Health Mission, Indian Red Cross Society, Anganwadi workers, local NGOs, and District Hospitals can serve as vehicles for change, bridging the gap between government schemes and those in need.

Finally, implementing initiatives such as free or subsidized medical aid, immunization, cancer screenings, and community engagement for healthcare projects will significantly improve healthcare provisions and hygiene in underprivileged communities.

In conclusion, empowering women and children in Jammu and Kashmir requires a comprehensive effort involving multiple initiatives and a network of workers. We extend our gratitude to GMC, NHM, IRCS, JKSACS, and all supporting entities for their constant support in this noble endeavor.

The author is a social and human rights activist and 
Founder Chairperson of Creative Self Employed Entrepreneurs Cooperative Ltd. 

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