Good quality care in developing countries is imperative to promoting health and wellness amongst women and young girls. The lack of equipped facilities and knowledgeable staff in rural areas is a great contributing factor to stillbirths and maternal deaths.
Improving women’s healthcare can prevent many of these unnecessary deaths. Early diagnosis of certain diseases such as cervical or breast cancer can also be life savers. Here are 8 points for rural clinics or healthcare facilities in developing countries to focus on.
1. Well-trained Professionals
The shortage of skilled and knowledgeable healthcare providers is a growing concern globally, not only in developing countries, but in first world countries too. Nurses should be encouraged to take their education further by obtaining degrees such as an online DNP, BSN or MSN.
The addition of highly qualified staff to any facility can help address immediate concerns within clinics concerning patients and the running of the facility itself. Sufficient skilled staff can cope better with the high demand of patients that frequent a healthcare facility day and night. Having local midwives to assist with heavy workloads in the area can never be underestimated either. The more professionals on hand to look after patients, the better the care.
2. Better Communication between Patients and Healthcare Givers
Often, the breakdown of communication between healthcare professionals and patients is attributed to poor communication skills, rushed appointments or rounds, or overcrowded facilities. Doctors, nurses and administration staff should all be good communicators and, when possible, involve the families of female patients so that important care information is shared and understood.
It is also vital that patients receive all the information about their diagnosis and treatment methods, and they should be involved in the decisions. Respect and dignity should always be encouraged in a facility that deals with women’s health, and pleasant bedside manners also go a long way to achieving the same goal from a healthcare and patient’s perspective.
3. Accurate Medical Records
Accurate medical records of women, new-born children and young girls are vital in keeping accurate and documented care, so as to better diagnose and treat them. Complete medical records are a healthcare practitioner’s ally in successfully treating patients of all ages.
Without standardized medical records, a healthcare practitioner’s job becomes increasingly difficult, and areas for improvement in the care of women can be even more challenging. Accurate data and records are the best tools for providing proper diagnosis, treatment and care.
4. Frequent Medical Visits During Pregnancy
Ideally, a pregnant woman should visit a clinic or healthcare provider at least 8 times while expecting, in order to combat complications during the pregnancy and birth. These visits are vital as emergency referrals can be tasked which can be potentially lifesaving for the patients. It has been shown that women who do not receive adequate prenatal care are three times more likely to give birth to underweight children or experience birth complications.
Healthy pregnancies are key to both the expectant mother’s health and that of her growing baby. Whether expectant mothers visit midwives or prefer to visit healthcare providers does not matter; the care they receive from both professionals is essential to healthy pregnancies and births. Prenatal care is extremely important in the realm of women’s health, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally too.
5. Patient Access to Information
Proper access to healthcare information such as family planning, pregnancy health and general women’s health should be readily available to women at a clinic. Well-informed women are empowered to take proper steps in safeguarding their health in every phase of their lifespan. Health workers should be approachable in order to provide support and information that can help protect female patients, no matter their disposition or situation.
6. Appropriate Healthcare Facilities
Clean, safe and well-organized healthcare facilities can negate the possibility of spreading hospital-acquired infections. Clean water, soap and hand sanitizers should be used by both healthcare providers and patients in order to minimize the spread of infectious agents that can potentially be fatal.
All workers within a healthcare facility should be trained on proper sterilizing procedures and waste disposal in order to ensure a sterile and safe environment for the patients and workers. Adequate amounts of stock, supplies, medicine and equipment should also be ensured so that the best quality of care can be given.
7. Breastfeeding Should be Encouraged
Breastfeeding is beneficial to both babies and nursing mothers and is also one of the best ways to ensure survival in premature or underweight babies. Unfortunately, the undermining of breastfeeding by the marketing of breastfeeding substitutes has caused a decline in breastfeeding globally and this can have detrimental effects on nursing mothers and growing children.
Healthcare providers should encourage the practice of breastfeeding and inform expectant and new mothers of the various benefits thereof. Kangaroo care and breastfeeding are vital to improving survival rates of premature or small babies. The awareness, education and promotion of these two aspects can greatly benefit the baby’s health and the mothers.
8. Women’s Health Awareness
Awareness, support and understanding are crucial to the positive outcomes that can be associated with knowledge, early detection and treatment. Issues such as breast cancer awareness and antenatal information are vital toolkits for women in protecting their own health and the health of future generations. Information is power, and women who are informed are better equipped in living healthy lifestyles that can support their longevity and vitality.
Family planning, healthy living choices, self-care and disease prevention are all essential to improving women’s health across the board. By promoting better women’s care and health, many unnecessary deaths or complications can be avoided, and the quality of care can be improved drastically.
Understanding that unequal access to basic healthcare and important women’s health information is a barrier that needs to be addressed can go a long way in improving the livelihoods of many young girls and women in developing countries.
Everyone should do what they can to curb women and new-borns from dying due to preventable complications. It is the duty of everyone to spread awareness on women’s health for a better future.