Women in rural Nepal still ashamed of reproductive health issues, health workers sayMost of these women are suffering from diseases related to uterus and many of them have physical injuries from domestic abuse meted out to them.
Sushila Pariyar suffered from uterine prolapse when she gave birth to her first child at the age of 22. Pariyar, who is now 66, didn’t tell her family about the incident until she was 63. Despite her condition, she gave birth to five more children. It was only recently that she underwent surgery after she found out about the dangers of uterine prolapse on a radio show.
Bhawani Chaudhary, of Naya Basti in Ghorahi, shares a similar story. Chaudhary, 80, had been suffering from piles for a long time but never sought treatment out of shame. She only recently went for a check-up. The disease has now taken root and needs extensive medication and surgery, but her family doesn’t have enough money to seek treatment.
Many women like Pariyar and Chaudhary keep their disease a secret, ashamed of what family members and society at large will say. “I have had complications related to my stomach for a long time, but I did not seek medication,” said Basanta Chaudhary, 80, from Surkeydangi.
These women, along with many others, reached a free women’s health camp at Buka in Ghorahi. Most of these women are suffering from diseases related to uterus and many of them have physical injuries from domestic abuse meted out to them.
Ishwori Thapa, the coordinator of the camp, said, “Many women don’t share or talk about complications related to reproductive health and physical injuries caused by abuse. But only medical help will not suffice; they need counselling too.”
Out of the 174 women who visited the camp, 33 had uterus-related complications, according to Binod Singh, a doctor from Rapti Regional Hospital, Tulsipur, who was at the camp.
Singh said that even though the government hospitals provide free treatment, many do not avail of them then because they are unaware of the services. “Even if they are aware of the free treatment, young women choose to stay away and let the disease fester rather than talk about it,” he said.
“We managed the free camp so that women who are busy with household chores can come and get a check-up done,” said Narulal Chaudhary, mayor of Ghorai sub-metropolis which coordinated the camp. “The camp has proven effective.”