What does it mean to be healthy? A sound mind? A sturdy body? A flourishing spirit? What if you did not have the right to minimal health? Many in our world have been denied exactly that.
Prompted by initiatives planned for the October, 2015 ICOM (International Conference On Missions) in Richmond, Virginia, put forth by the women’s Common Ground event and women’s workshop tracks, I’ve been reading articles concerned with women’s health and reproductive justice. Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice, recently renamed Forward Together [www.forwardtogether.org], defines the concept as follows –
“Reproductive Justice is the complete physical, mental, spiritual, political, economic, and social well-being of women and girls, and will be achieved when women and girls have the economic, social, and political power and resources to make healthy decisions about our bodies, sexuality, and reproduction for ourselves, our families, and our communities in all areas of our lives.”
Following are a few web locations dealing with inequalities suffered in women’s health care. –
- World Health Organization‘s (WHO) [www.who.int/en] article Ten top issues for women’s health [http://www.who.int/life-course/news/2015-intl-womens-day/en/] states, “Twenty years after countries signed pledges in the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action, women still face many health problems and we must re-commit to addressing them.”
- Australian Women’s Health Network [http://awhn.org.au/about/] “aims to foster the development not only of women’s health services but of stronger community-based primary health care services generally, which it sees as essential to improve population health outcomes. It advocates collaboration and partnership between relevant agencies on all issues affecting health.”
- India’s National Health Portal, [www.nhp.gov.in] recognizes that “Health is an important factor that contributes to human wellbeing and economic growth.” and gives the following update. “Currently, women in India have to face numerous health issues, which ultimately affect the aggregate economy’s output. Addressing the gender, class or ethnic disparities that exist in healthcare and improving the health outcomes can contribute to economic gain through the creation of quality human capital and increased levels of savings and investment.”
- In the short YouTube documentary, Women’s Health in Africa [https://youtu.be/hiq-vKFtybw], the WHO Regional Office for Africa describes their findings and urges governments to rethink their policy on women’s health.
- European Institute of Women’s Health [http://eurohealth.ie/], Women’s Health Research Foundation of Canada [http://whrfcinc.com/] and Center For Reproductive Rights [http://www.reproductiverights.org/about-us/mission] offer additional perspectives and information on justice issues regarding women’s health.
Those of us who have relatively healthy life opportunities may be the evangelists for living a better life to the rest of the world.
What can that mean?
- We take the time to learn about the issues in our own communities.
- We share the information with others, locally and globally.
- We work with others to effect change for all women, everywhere.
Commitment is not enough. It takes discipleship. I think 1 Kings 8:59-61, says it well. “And let these words that I’ve prayed in the presence of God be always right there before him, day and night, so that he’ll do what is right for me, to guarantee justice for his people Israel day after day after day. Then all the people on earth will know God is the true God; there is no other God. And you, your lives must be totally obedient to God, our personal God, following the life path he has cleared, alert and attentive to everything he has made plain this day.”