Opening the session, Caitlin Ownes, Health Reporter at AXIOS, noted that Hologic is driving action to improve women’s health through data. Dr. Susan Harvey, Vice President of Worldwide Medical Affairs at Hologic, explained that Hologic was unveiling its second set of data around women’s health experiences, because improving something requires measuring it. Women are the foundations of family, communities, and economies, and approximately 1.5 billion women and girls lack access to preventative care. The study captured data around preventative care, basic needs, emotional health, individual health, and opinions on health and safety.
Looking at concrete examples. Dr. Lia Tadesse Gebremedhin, Minister of Health of Ethiopia Federal, described how her country is investing in women’s health with a focus on prevention, health promotion, and public health. Ethiopia is specifically focusing on maternal mortality and has achieved a 72% reduction in mortality rates, though disparities remain high. H.E. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Former President of the Republic of Croatia and Concordia Leadership Council Member, noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated disparities in equal health access. She expects the data will show a rise in cancers and chronic diseases due to lack of preventative care, and increased mental health issues and substance abuse rates.
Dr. Harvey explained that health issues are intertwined with social issues like food insecurity. Measuring the data is crucial to understanding where we are. Dr. Gebremedhin concurred and suggested that barriers including finance should be considered. Former President Grabar-Kitarović expressed her belief that women need to be in leadership positions where they can make decisions and model appropriate health behavior.
“Women are the foundation of families, communities, and economies, so it is essential they have access to preventative care.”
Dr. Susan Harvey, Vice President, Worldwide Medical Affairs, Hologic
“Every year we talk about the Sustainable Development Goals. One of the cutting issues across is gender equality. We see significant, worsening gender discrepancy in women’s health.”
H.E. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Former President, Republic of Croatia; Concordia Leadership Council Member
“The sad irony is women’s health issues are not being discussed by women in leadership positions, especially at the governmental level.”
Caitlin Ownes, Health Reporter, AXIOS
“A strong community health system is one of the foundations we have learned that needs to be scaled.”
Dr. Lia Tadesse Gebremedhin, MInister of Health of Ethiopia Federal, Ministry of Health of Ethiopia