UBC Faculty Research and Publications
And Still She Rises: Policies for Improving Women’s Health for a More Equitable Post-Pandemic World Shroff, Farah M.; Tsang, Ricky; Schwartz, Norah; Alkhadragy, Rania; Vora, Kranti
The COVID-19 pandemic has spawned crises of violence, hunger and impoverishment. Maternal and Infant Health Canada (MIHCan) conducted this policy action study to explore how changes that have arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic may catalyze potential improvements in global women’s health toward the creation of a more equitable post-pandemic world. In this mixed methods study, 280 experts in women’s health responded to our survey and 65 subsequently participated in focus groups, including professionals from India, Egypt/Sudan, Canada and the United States/Mexico. From the results of this study, our recommendations include augmenting mental health through more open dialogue, valuing and compensating those working on the frontlines through living wages, paid sick leave and enhanced benefits and expanding digital technology that facilitates flexible work locations, thereby freeing time for improving the wellbeing of caregivers and families and offering telemedicine and telecounseling, which delivers greater access to care. We also recommend bridging the digital divide through the widespread provision of reliable and affordable internet services and digital literacy training. These policy recommendations for employers, governments and health authorities aim to improve mental and physical wellbeing and working conditions, while leveraging the potential of digital technology for healthcare provision for those who identify as women, knowing that others will benefit. MIHCan took action on the recommendation to improve mental health through open conversation by facilitating campaigns in all study regions. Despite the devastation of the pandemic on global women’s health, implementing these changes could yield improvements for years to come.
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