Women’s health has never been an issue, not even with feminists in India. It is no doubt that most of the women, especially the younger, less educated and poor ones are treated in a disrespectful manner and are taken advantage of. They experience verbal or physical abuse, discrimination or stigma, and episiotomies are at many times performed without consent. Women from minorities and the oppressed castes face prejudice and neglect. While verbal and physical abuse is apparent, it is less visible but detrimental to other forms of violence committed by unethical medical practitioners. Informed consent is often circumvented. In the private sector, unnecessary sections of Caesarean are more common.
Ultrasound that had been invented to make childbirth safer has already led to the genocide of female foeticide. The same ultrasonic and fetal monitors are now used to lift concern and explain the scheduled Caesareans, although there is no proof that they make birth safer. The most common cause of neonatal complications is now iatrogenic prematureness. There is also a fervent sale of hysterectomy, laparoscopy and artificial reproductive technologies such as IVF with detrimental effects on women. This unregulated industry has not carried out a real cost-benefit analysis.
What exactly is wrong with the system and Women’s health in India? The entire system— from selection to medical schools to government hospitals teaching and working — is broken. We have to go back to the drawing board to improve. There is a wide social gap between a doctor and a patient, and students are further desensitized by current medical education. We must now set clear guidelines for everyone, from the top professors to the last interns. While it is doubtful that things will improve without a general improvement in women’s status, measures required for gender equality, informed consent, LGBT rights need to be incorporated in doctors.