16 Women’s Health Is a Community Issue
• Develop community projects. For example, try to find
ways for every family in the community to get enough
to eat, or to improve community sanitation and access to
The Green Belt movement in Kenya has involved many women in planting and
protecting trees, which prevent soil erosion and provide fuel. The women’s success
at protecting the environment and providing fuel for their families has built their
confidence and helped them earn a living.
As one Green Belt member said, “Our forests were
running out because of our constant need for firewood.
We meet weekly to collect seeds, to do potting
and fencing, and tend the trees in
our nursery. We also talk to
groups and schools about the
environment. In this way, we
are both helping ourselves and
bettering the environment.”
if more health
trained to care
Simple and low-cost community efforts can make a difference
When you first look at a problem, it often seems very hard
to make changes. But, in fact, communities can make many
improvements that do not cost too much. For example, here
are some of the suggestions this book contains for preventing or
helping solve women’s health problems:
• Start a community stove project. Women often suffer
from lung infections, burns, and back problems. Low-cost
cook stoves that are safer, use less fuel, and produce less
smoke can prevent many of these problems (see page 394).
• Establish an emergency transportation system. Many
women die from complications of pregnancy, childbirth,
and unsafe abortion. These deaths could often be
prevented by reaching medical care quickly (see page 101).
• Low-cost cancer screening can prevent many women from
dying from cervical and breast cancer. Cancers are much
easier to treat if they are found early (see page 375).
• Make family planning services and good prenatal care
accessible to all women. Doing so can prevent many deaths
due to complications of pregnancy, childbirth and unsafe
• Train health workers to care for women’s health. They
should be trained in pelvic exams, Pap tests and visual
inspection, manual vacuum aspiration (MVA), breast exams,
and counseling. They should also learn how to use medicines
for women’s health.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012