A new report by global hygiene and health company Essity reveals significant gaps in the healthcare system, especially concerning women and girls. The report, titled “Advancing Health and Well-being through Care, Prevention, and Gender Equality” is an extensive study that draws on expert opinions, research, and real-world data to identify areas crucial for societal progress.

Gender Equality and Women’s Health

One of the most striking findings of the report is the frequent neglect of women’s health issues. While the global focus on gender equality has been gaining momentum, the health of women and girls often remains overlooked. For instance, at least 367 million children worldwide lack sanitation services in their schools, posing significant barriers to good menstrual health.

The report also tackles the subject of menopause, a natural biological process that receives scant attention despite its impact on nearly 1.1 billion women globally by 2025. The report emphasizes that this oversight has ripple effects, affecting not only women but society at large.

The Value of Care and Caregiving

Another highlight of the report is the vital role of caregivers in healthcare systems. With family members providing an overwhelming 80% of care, the report calls for more attention and support for these often unsung heroes. As two-thirds of the global population are likely to become caregivers at some point, the report argues that investing in care and caregivers is not merely a social good but an economic imperative.

Economics of Health and Well-being

The economics of health and well-being are stark. According to Essity’s report, workplace absenteeism due to illness alone costs the EU 2.5% of its GDP. The report suggests that improving healthcare systems through better hygiene, sanitation, and preventive measures could significantly lower these costs.

A Call to Action

Anna Brodowsky, Vice President Public Affairs of Essity, underscores the report’s call to action: “We know that the health and well-being of individuals and society benefit by investing in care, prevention, and gender equality. The UN Sustainable Development Goals serve as an essential framework to promote a more healthy and inclusive future.”

Essity’s CEO, Magnus Groth, echoes this sentiment, emphasizing the need for a collective effort to break down barriers and improve global health and well-being: “By engaging with a multitude of stakeholders, we aim to contribute to change and inspire further progress.”

What Next?

As the report shows, creating resilient healthcare systems that cater to all, including women and girls, is a complex but achievable goal. By focusing on gender equality, care, and prevention, society can make substantial progress toward better health and well-being for all.

The report serves as a blueprint for action, calling upon policymakers, healthcare providers, and the general public to make concerted efforts towards a more equitable and healthier future.

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