Written by Cynthia Ramirez Manriquez, AMIIF Communications Manager
When the first complete book on human anatomy was released, A History of Man by John Bannister, appeared in 1578, female genitalia were absent from its pages, as they were considered indecent. In England in the mid-1800s, the use of the speculum to examine women’s reproductive health sparked controversy, in part due to concerns that the instrument might cause “a form of hysteria” in patients. With examples like these, taken from church publications, public health campaigns, and patient testimonials, the book Sick Women: Misdiagnosis and Myth in a Man-Made WorldBy Eleanor Cleghorn reminds us that in the history of Western medicine, social and cultural factors – religious beliefs, prejudices, myths – have played a crucial role no less than that of scientific knowledge itself.
Throughout the book, without noting that history repeats itself, Cleghorn presents the way in which the myths of earlier centuries regarding the female body are expressed to this day in the tendency not to investigate in a differentiated manner the diseases that primarily affect women. To reduce the importance of pain and other symptoms.
It is precisely to change these trends that there are research projects such as “Impact of non-communicable diseases on Mexican womenAn academic collaboration between the National Institute of Public Health and the George Institute, sponsored by AMIIF, that will assess the economic and health burden caused by non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their disparate impact on men and women in our country.
The global health agenda in relation to women’s health has focused on our sexual and reproductive health, which is not bad, but it is essential to include the rest of our bodies and to understand how heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes affect us.
As we work to deepen our understanding of how the human body works, we know that women and men respond differently to possible diseases and interventions. We are also beginning to understand that health systems respond differently to women and men, so access to care and quality of care differ. However, all too often, there is no gender identification in the health data, which complicates the way public health decisions are made in a country.
With this study, the first of its kind in Mexico and Latin America, we will have information about how the burden of non-communicable diseases differs between women and men, from a gender perspective, and we will be able to understand the political and health system context in which the disadvantages experienced by women are born, and most importantly That it would be possible to formulate intervention recommendations to resolve it.
* It’s called “bikini medicine” because for a long time, the focus of medical research and practice with regard to women seemed to focus almost exclusively on the areas of the body that would be covered in a bikini.
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