Today, May 28, is the International Day of Action for Women's Health. I am re-posting this photo from 2013 to remind me why I became a nurse and a gender equality advocate.
I became a licensed nurse in 2008 but during that time, I do not want to work in a clinical setting. Nursing wasn't the career I was really hoping for but I have to take it because I got a scholarship from Japan and Canada.
It was in 2011 when I found my professional calling - in sexual & reproductive health nursing. I started to join groups and found myself to be one that strongly campained on #WomensHealthMatters and #SRHRisEssential.
This photo reminded me to bring the focus to the issues of women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights. It was because of this issue that I organized the then RNs for RH Movement to campaign for the passage of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law.
Nurses play a very vital role in the provision of SRH services and advocate for patients' rights. When nurses are capacitated, we can help address about 2,400 Filipino women and girls dying every year from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth including postpartum haemorrhage, complications from unsafe abortion, hypertensive disorders and sepsis. And with the present pandemic, these numbers could increase.
The impact of the pandemic is already immense and wide, and how and when the end of the crisis is still unknown. What is certain is that the COVID-19 pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on women and girls and other marginalized communities living in the most vulnerable conditions.
Women’s access to essential SRHR information and services remains critical in responding to COVID-19. Governments should continue to prioritize the delivery of essential SRH services to women and girls. Any public health strategy that is not mindful of human rights, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, will not only be inept and unsustainable but will also create an enabling environment for grave human rights violations.
Let us continue to Speak Out, Mobilize, and Assert to ensure that women’s health is not deprioritized in the pandemic response.