Testing, women’s empowerment & UHC
FIND and Women in Global Health have joined forces to gather the evidence on women’s access to testing and explore the potential of women as drivers of change in health systems, to help close the testing gap that is holding back universal health coverage (UHC) and health for all. The result is this report, entitled Health in their hands: testing & women’s empowerment means better health for all.
Men and women are all likely to need diagnostic tests at some time in their lives, and some of the barriers identified in our report may be common to both sexes. In some areas of health there may be a greater testing gap for men than women because social norms encourage men to take greater health risks and focus less on prevention. Women need tests for conditions and diseases common to both sexes (e.g. HIV/AIDS, COVID-19) and they also require tests for conditions unique to women (e.g. antenatal tests related to pregnancy). Women’s reproductive role means the average woman will be likely to need more diagnostic tests during her lifetime than the average man.
Although some of the obstacles described in our report are experienced by women in all countries, the focus of this report is on women in low- and middle-income countries, who face the greatest burden of infectious, non-communicable diseases and maternal mortality and have least access to diagnostic testing.
We hope our report will start a global conversation that leads to investment in women’s health through reaching women with diagnostic testing. We also hope it will lead to a new focus on the role women play as drivers of diagnostic testing for the whole of society.
If you would like additional information about this report or on the topic of women and testing, please contact us.