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Food Insecurity Caused by Climate Change Affects Family Planning in Kenya

Experts and mothers say climate change is directly and indirectly affecting childbearing in Kenya. They say food insecurity caused by climate change hurts pregnant mothers’ and children’s health and is leading Kenyans to opt for smaller families.

NAIROBI, KENYA – It is early evening, and one of the fast food outlets in the South C Shopping Center in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, is bustling with activity as hungry souls troop in one after the other. But Paul Mwangi, a taxi operator, says that no matter what he orders on the menu, he can’t spend less than 100 shillings, $1.10 USD, on a simple snack.

Mwangi says that food prices have risen dramatically because of environmental degradation and changes in the climate, which have led to weaker crop yields across Kenya.

“I did not know that it would affect us this way,” he says. “I went home to Laikipia in March thinking I would be able to plant. The land was dry. I made two return visits in April. Still, there are no rains, and those who had planted have just watched their crops die under the scorching sun.”

Mwangi says that rising costs across society – combined with ailing crops, which his family depends on for food and his wife sells in order to supplement his earnings as a taxi driver – make it hard to support a large family. He says he recently took his son shopping for school supplies, and the bill totaled slightly more than 3,500 shillings, $40 USD.

“Can you believe that was the bill for snacks, books, and things like soap and oil?” he asks. “The land no longer gives good returns like it did in the past. I can hardly sustain my family of four – two children, my wife and I.”

Mwangi says that because of the changing climatic conditions, he recently agreed to let his wife have a tubal ligation, a procedure that closes a woman’s fallopian tubes. He says this frees them from the anxiety of having more children than they can support.

Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/africa/kenya/food-insecurity-caused-climate-change-affects-family-planning-kenya#ixzz1TVeKysmq

Food Insecurity Caused by Climate Change Affects Family Planning in Kenya

Experts and mothers say climate change is directly and indirectly affecting childbearing in Kenya. They say food insecurity caused by climate change hurts pregnant mothers’ and children’s health and is leading Kenyans to opt for smaller families.

NAIROBI, KENYA – It is early evening, and one of the fast food outlets in the South C Shopping Center in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, is bustling with activity as hungry souls troop in one after the other. But Paul Mwangi, a taxi operator, says that no matter what he orders on the menu, he can’t spend less than 100 shillings, $1.10 USD, on a simple snack.

Mwangi says that food prices have risen dramatically because of environmental degradation and changes in the climate, which have led to weaker crop yields across Kenya.

“I did not know that it would affect us this way,” he says. “I went home to Laikipia in March thinking I would be able to plant. The land was dry. I made two return visits in April. Still, there are no rains, and those who had planted have just watched their crops die under the scorching sun.”

Mwangi says that rising costs across society – combined with ailing crops, which his family depends on for food and his wife sells in order to supplement his earnings as a taxi driver – make it hard to support a large family. He says he recently took his son shopping for school supplies, and the bill totaled slightly more than 3,500 shillings, $40 USD.

“Can you believe that was the bill for snacks, books, and things like soap and oil?” he asks. “The land no longer gives good returns like it did in the past. I can hardly sustain my family of four – two children, my wife and I.”

Mwangi says that because of the changing climatic conditions, he recently agreed to let his wife have a tubal ligation, a procedure that closes a woman’s fallopian tubes. He says this frees them from the anxiety of having more children than they can support.



Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/africa/kenya/food-insecurity-caused-climate-change-affects-family-planning-kenya#ixzz1TVeKysmq

Filed under Health Kenya Reproductive Health Family Planning Environment

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New Contract Erodes Family Health Care in Romania
Turbulent contract negotiations between Romanian family doctors and the national insurance organization last month left millions without health care. Although doctors eventually signed the contract after the elimination of some provisions, they lament other losses to family medicine here.

BUCHAREST, ROMANIA – Amalia Solescu, 67, a retired economist, says she visited her family physician last month to ask for the discounted medicine guaranteed to her by her medical insurance. But she says her doctor said no.

Surprised, she asked why. She says her doctor told her she had to buy it herself, despite the money she has contributed to the National Health Insurance Fund. But Solescu says she can’t afford the medicine that costs 30 euros, $45 USD, with her pension of 250 euros, $360 USD.

Worried, she says she then asked for an appointment with a specialist for her annual hypertension and osteoporosis treatments. But again, her family doctor denied coverage of her treatment. Increasingly alarmed, Solescu wondered, if the need arose, could she check into a hospital this year? Yes, her doctor said – but she’d have to pay for all the costs herself.

“‘It’s like you’re no longer insured,’” she says the doctor told her.

Solescu says she wished that the family doctors would hurry up and abandon their protests against the National Health Insurance House, the autonomous public institution that administrates and manages the national health insurance system. Because the parties hadn’t signed a new contract, she and her fellow Romanian citizens couldn’t access their health insurance.

But she says she empathized with the doctors’ plight as she remembered how she felt when the Romanian government threatened to cut all pensions a few months ago. So she went home without arguing.
Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/eastern-europe/romania/new-contract-erodes-family-health-care-romania#ixzz1TJs4o95p

New Contract Erodes Family Health Care in Romania

Turbulent contract negotiations between Romanian family doctors and the national insurance organization last month left millions without health care. Although doctors eventually signed the contract after the elimination of some provisions, they lament other losses to family medicine here.


BUCHAREST, ROMANIA – Amalia Solescu, 67, a retired economist, says she visited her family physician last month to ask for the discounted medicine guaranteed to her by her medical insurance. But she says her doctor said no.

Surprised, she asked why. She says her doctor told her she had to buy it herself, despite the money she has contributed to the National Health Insurance Fund. But Solescu says she can’t afford the medicine that costs 30 euros, $45 USD, with her pension of 250 euros, $360 USD.

Worried, she says she then asked for an appointment with a specialist for her annual hypertension and osteoporosis treatments. But again, her family doctor denied coverage of her treatment. Increasingly alarmed, Solescu wondered, if the need arose, could she check into a hospital this year? Yes, her doctor said – but she’d have to pay for all the costs herself.

“‘It’s like you’re no longer insured,’” she says the doctor told her.

Solescu says she wished that the family doctors would hurry up and abandon their protests against the National Health Insurance House, the autonomous public institution that administrates and manages the national health insurance system. Because the parties hadn’t signed a new contract, she and her fellow Romanian citizens couldn’t access their health insurance.

But she says she empathized with the doctors’ plight as she remembered how she felt when the Romanian government threatened to cut all pensions a few months ago. So she went home without arguing.



Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/eastern-europe/romania/new-contract-erodes-family-health-care-romania#ixzz1TJs4o95p

Filed under Health Law and Society

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Kung Fu Grannies Combat Rape in Kenya
As government, police and residents struggle to reduce rape incidences in Kenya, a group of grannies in a Nairobi slum is taking matters into their own hands. A local organization here trains elderly women to defend themselves against attackers.
NAIROBI, KENYA – Shanty houses made from rusted corrugated iron sheets line a lone tarmac road in Korogocho, a slum in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital. Garbage is strewn along the dusty sidewalks, and a herd of goats trots by, oblivious to their surroundings. Amidst the shanty houses stands a robust church made of blue corrugated iron sheets with its name painted in white: the Church of the Lord and Faith Healing Ministry.

Outside the church, a sound of yelling and pummeling become audible, like out of a kung fu movie.

“No! No! No! No! No!” is shouted repeatedly.

The church door flings open, revealing a room of almost 30 elderly women in their 60s and 70s who are taking turns chopping, hacking and pummeling a punching bag. Some even use their walking canes to pulverize the imaginary assailant.

This is a self-defense class for elderly women in the heart of Korogocho, one of Nairobi’s  largest slums, with an estimated 200,000 residents. The class is run by No Means No, a local organization that offers various programs to protect Kenyan women.

Sheila Wanjiku of No Means No says she was part of a larger team that brought the elderly women of the Korogocho slum together in 2007. They taught them a variety of martial arts techniques to defend themselves against rapists. Now the elderly women train diligently every Thursday and Saturday to protect themselves from attacks in the slum, an area rampant with crime.

Kung Fu Grannies Combat Rape in Kenya

As government, police and residents struggle to reduce rape incidences in Kenya, a group of grannies in a Nairobi slum is taking matters into their own hands. A local organization here trains elderly women to defend themselves against attackers.

NAIROBI, KENYA – Shanty houses made from rusted corrugated iron sheets line a lone tarmac road in Korogocho, a slum in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital. Garbage is strewn along the dusty sidewalks, and a herd of goats trots by, oblivious to their surroundings. Amidst the shanty houses stands a robust church made of blue corrugated iron sheets with its name painted in white: the Church of the Lord and Faith Healing Ministry.


Outside the church, a sound of yelling and pummeling become audible, like out of a kung fu movie.


“No! No! No! No! No!” is shouted repeatedly.


The church door flings open, revealing a room of almost 30 elderly women in their 60s and 70s who are taking turns chopping, hacking and pummeling a punching bag. Some even use their walking canes to pulverize the imaginary assailant.


This is a self-defense class for elderly women in the heart of Korogocho, one of Nairobi’s  largest slums, with an estimated 200,000 residents. The class is run by No Means No, a local organization that offers various programs to protect Kenyan women.


Sheila Wanjiku of No Means No says she was part of a larger team that brought the elderly women of the Korogocho slum together in 2007. They taught them a variety of martial arts techniques to defend themselves against rapists. Now the elderly women train diligently every Thursday and Saturday to protect themselves from attacks in the slum, an area rampant with crime.



Filed under Gender Justice, Health Rape Kenya HIV HIV/AIDS

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As Botswana studies its growing vulnerability to climate change, health risks associated with a changing climate have come to the forefront. Higher temperatures and less frequent and predictable rain have hurt crops and nutrition, which is essential for strengthening the immune system against HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Meanwhile, higher carbon dioxide levels are enabling the rapid spread of malaria to mostly women and girls.
SELIBE-PHIKWE, BOTSWANA – Segwabe Morathi, a retired religious minister, works as a farmer in a village on the outskirts of Selibe-Phikwe, a small mining town in eastern Botswana. He says farming is not easy in Botswana, where a semiarid desert means that the weather is unpredictable. A changing climate has only made rain more unreliable, he says.

Morathi says he has spent precious time ploughing his field with the expectation of more rains, but to his disappointment, the intense heat has consumed all the young seedlings.

Across the country, rain has become less frequent, while intense heat – tempatures can reach higher than 104 degrees Fahrenheit – continues to cause a multitude of problems for both people and industries.

Experts here say that malnutrition and undernourishment that result from unpredictable crop yields leave people with perilous health conditions, such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, even more vulnerable. One in four adults in Botswana is HIV-positive, giving it the world’s second-highest HIV-prevalence rate.

While rain in the south varies, Morathi says that the northern part of the country has received a lot of rain. He says that the area – home to the Okavango Delta, where a river empties into a swamp spanning 11,000 kilometers – is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, leading to more cases of malaria. Throughout Botswana, women and children are the ones who are most prone to malaria because they are the ones who search for food, fish in the rivers and transport tourists in their canoes.

Morathi says that Botswana has four regions – north, south, east and west – and that each has different weather, which makes it hard for the government to create a plan.
Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/africa/botswana/experts-link-climate-change-rising-health-threats-botswana#ixzz1SZ61laz3

As Botswana studies its growing vulnerability to climate change, health risks associated with a changing climate have come to the forefront. Higher temperatures and less frequent and predictable rain have hurt crops and nutrition, which is essential for strengthening the immune system against HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Meanwhile, higher carbon dioxide levels are enabling the rapid spread of malaria to mostly women and girls.

SELIBE-PHIKWE, BOTSWANA – Segwabe Morathi, a retired religious minister, works as a farmer in a village on the outskirts of Selibe-Phikwe, a small mining town in eastern Botswana. He says farming is not easy in Botswana, where a semiarid desert means that the weather is unpredictable. A changing climate has only made rain more unreliable, he says.

Morathi says he has spent precious time ploughing his field with the expectation of more rains, but to his disappointment, the intense heat has consumed all the young seedlings.

Across the country, rain has become less frequent, while intense heat – tempatures can reach higher than 104 degrees Fahrenheit – continues to cause a multitude of problems for both people and industries.

Experts here say that malnutrition and undernourishment that result from unpredictable crop yields leave people with perilous health conditions, such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, even more vulnerable. One in four adults in Botswana is HIV-positive, giving it the world’s second-highest HIV-prevalence rate.

While rain in the south varies, Morathi says that the northern part of the country has received a lot of rain. He says that the area – home to the Okavango Delta, where a river empties into a swamp spanning 11,000 kilometers – is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, leading to more cases of malaria. Throughout Botswana, women and children are the ones who are most prone to malaria because they are the ones who search for food, fish in the rivers and transport tourists in their canoes.

Morathi says that Botswana has four regions – north, south, east and west – and that each has different weather, which makes it hard for the government to create a plan.



Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/africa/botswana/experts-link-climate-change-rising-health-threats-botswana#ixzz1SZ61laz3

Filed under Industry HIV/AIDS Tuberculosis Health Environment Farming Climate Change

36 notes

Lack of Garbage Disposal Poses Environmental, Health Risks in Kashmir
Heaps of trash line streets and streams in Srinagar, Kashmir’s summer capital. Pests and health risks are on the rise while recycling programs and landfill maintenance remain weak.

SRINAGAR, KASHMIR, INDIA – Garbage disposal has long been inefficient in Kashmir. Local people who throw the trash from their homes out on the streets remain the biggest culprits contributing to increased pests and health risks here. While municipality workers strive to collect street garbage and take it to dumping sites, landfills here remain poorly maintained.

Besides being an unpleasant sight, heaps of trash along roadsides, in streams, and even near schools and government buildings pose significant health risks. Trash piles have become breeding grounds for disease vectors, such as flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches, rats and other pests. Animal advocates say street trash is also contributing to the rise in stray dogs on the streets of Srinagar.

Environmental advocates have also begun to stress the need for segregation in processing the waste. Both biodegradable and nonbiodegradable materials end up in landfills, as recycling of paper, bottles and cans remains rare.
View slideshow: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/asia/india/lack-garbage-disposal-poses-environmental-health-risks-kashmir#ixzz1S5TfpPZW

Lack of Garbage Disposal Poses Environmental, Health Risks in Kashmir

Heaps of trash line streets and streams in Srinagar, Kashmir’s summer capital. Pests and health risks are on the rise while recycling programs and landfill maintenance remain weak.

SRINAGAR, KASHMIR, INDIA – Garbage disposal has long been inefficient in Kashmir. Local people who throw the trash from their homes out on the streets remain the biggest culprits contributing to increased pests and health risks here. While municipality workers strive to collect street garbage and take it to dumping sites, landfills here remain poorly maintained.

Besides being an unpleasant sight, heaps of trash along roadsides, in streams, and even near schools and government buildings pose significant health risks. Trash piles have become breeding grounds for disease vectors, such as flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches, rats and other pests. Animal advocates say street trash is also contributing to the rise in stray dogs on the streets of Srinagar.

Environmental advocates have also begun to stress the need for segregation in processing the waste. Both biodegradable and nonbiodegradable materials end up in landfills, as recycling of paper, bottles and cans remains rare.



View slideshow: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/asia/india/lack-garbage-disposal-poses-environmental-health-risks-kashmir#ixzz1S5TfpPZW

Filed under Community Recycling Health Trash Disposal India

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Sex Workers Advocate for Decriminalization of Their Profession
Sex workers in Nigeria are fighting for increased rights and the decriminalization of commercial sex work. Meanwhile, local organizations and the government focus on health, rehabilitation and the arts

LAGOS, NIGERIA – Patricia Okana, who is in her early 30s, is a commercial sex worker.

“It is just like every other thing you do,” she says. “There are challenges, but I thank God it puts food on my table.”

Okana, a widow, says that poverty is the main catalyst driving women into commercial sex work here. After her husband died, she struggled to support herself. Frustrated, she eventually listened to a friend’s advice to try sex work. 

“Everything that tastes bitter must first be sweet, and everything that must be sweet must first be bitter,” she says.

She says that although it pays the bills, she doesn’t encourage young girls to view commercial sex work as their first option.

“I don’t encourage young girls, especially underage,” she says.

Commercial sex workers in Nigeria are demanding more respect and more rights. Nongovernmental organizations, NGOs, have been promoting various rehabilitation and education initiatives. But prohibative costs for these programs lead some advocates to believe that the best option is to decriminalize commercial sex work. The Nigerian Criminal Code penalizes prostitution with imprisonment, but some say the law shouldn’t govern morality. The government has mentioned no plans to decriminalize sex work and instead promotes education and alternative employment.

Nearly 65 percent of Nigerians live below the international poverty line of $1.25 USD a day, according to UNICEF’s latest statistics. Some say this makes sex work an appealing option to earn a living. Official statistics on the number of sex workers in Nigeria are unavailable.
Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/africa/nigeria/sex-workers-advocate-decriminalization-their-profession-nigeria#ixzz1RR5WiLy9

Sex Workers Advocate for Decriminalization of Their Profession

Sex workers in Nigeria are fighting for increased rights and the decriminalization of commercial sex work. Meanwhile, local organizations and the government focus on health, rehabilitation and the arts

LAGOS, NIGERIA – Patricia Okana, who is in her early 30s, is a commercial sex worker.

“It is just like every other thing you do,” she says. “There are challenges, but I thank God it puts food on my table.”

Okana, a widow, says that poverty is the main catalyst driving women into commercial sex work here. After her husband died, she struggled to support herself. Frustrated, she eventually listened to a friend’s advice to try sex work. 

“Everything that tastes bitter must first be sweet, and everything that must be sweet must first be bitter,” she says.

She says that although it pays the bills, she doesn’t encourage young girls to view commercial sex work as their first option.

“I don’t encourage young girls, especially underage,” she says.

Commercial sex workers in Nigeria are demanding more respect and more rights. Nongovernmental organizations, NGOs, have been promoting various rehabilitation and education initiatives. But prohibative costs for these programs lead some advocates to believe that the best option is to decriminalize commercial sex work. The Nigerian Criminal Code penalizes prostitution with imprisonment, but some say the law shouldn’t govern morality. The government has mentioned no plans to decriminalize sex work and instead promotes education and alternative employment.

Nearly 65 percent of Nigerians live below the international poverty line of $1.25 USD a day, according to UNICEF’s latest statistics. Some say this makes sex work an appealing option to earn a living. Official statistics on the number of sex workers in Nigeria are unavailable.



Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/africa/nigeria/sex-workers-advocate-decriminalization-their-profession-nigeria#ixzz1RR5WiLy9

Filed under Gender Justice Health Law and Society Poverty Women's Rights Nigeria Sex Worker Rights

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Socio-economic Factors Push Women, Girls in Cameroon to Seek Backstreet Abortions
High risks associated with unsafe abortions in Cameroon don’t deter women and girls here. Economic, social, legal and religious pressures – combined with a lack of information about and access to reproductive health services – often override fear of health risks.

BAMENDA, CAMEROON – Lina, 27, says that when she was 23, her friend told her that she was pregnant. The friend’s boyfriend deserted her when she told him.

Lina, who declined to give her full name for privacy reasons, proposed that they talk to her friend’s mother, but her friend said this wasn’t an option because her mother was Christian and would throw her out of the house for getting pregnant before marriage. Lina says they decided their only option was for her friend to get an abortion out of town where no one would recognize them and no official records would be kept.

She says that they consulted their peers on where they could get a quick and cheap abortion and were referred to a “doctor.” But Lina says that when they arrived at the address they were given, it was not a hospital or a clinic and the doctor was not a licensed professional.  

Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/africa/cameroon/socio-economic-factors-push-women-girls-cameroon-seek-backstreet-abortio#ixzz1QlDKn3PT

Socio-economic Factors Push Women, Girls in Cameroon to Seek Backstreet Abortions

High risks associated with unsafe abortions in Cameroon don’t deter women and girls here. Economic, social, legal and religious pressures – combined with a lack of information about and access to reproductive health services – often override fear of health risks.

BAMENDA, CAMEROON – Lina, 27, says that when she was 23, her friend told her that she was pregnant. The friend’s boyfriend deserted her when she told him.

Lina, who declined to give her full name for privacy reasons, proposed that they talk to her friend’s mother, but her friend said this wasn’t an option because her mother was Christian and would throw her out of the house for getting pregnant before marriage. Lina says they decided their only option was for her friend to get an abortion out of town where no one would recognize them and no official records would be kept.

She says that they consulted their peers on where they could get a quick and cheap abortion and were referred to a “doctor.” But Lina says that when they arrived at the address they were given, it was not a hospital or a clinic and the doctor was not a licensed professional.  


Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/africa/cameroon/socio-economic-factors-push-women-girls-cameroon-seek-backstreet-abortio#ixzz1QlDKn3PT

Filed under Abortion Africa Women's Rights Health Community

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Tummy tucks and breast reductions are increasingly popular procedures among professional women in Kenya. With expensive weaves and other beauty trends also becoming more common, the new middle class is affording career women here new ways to stay competitive and boost their self-esteem.Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/africa/kenya/professional-women-drive-booming-cosmetic-surgery-industry-kenya#ixzz1Qa55iwfu

Tummy tucks and breast reductions are increasingly popular procedures among professional women in Kenya. With expensive weaves and other beauty trends also becoming more common, the new middle class is affording career women here new ways to stay competitive and boost their self-esteem.

Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/africa/kenya/professional-women-drive-booming-cosmetic-surgery-industry-kenya#ixzz1Qa55iwfu

Filed under beauty body image health women industry cosmetics plastic surgery

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Breast Ironing Affects One in Four Girls in Cameroon
The practice of “breast ironing” – described as brutal by many young girls here – is on the rise in Cameroon. The procedure involves flattening young girl’s growing breasts with hot stones in order to curb the country’s skyrocketing teen pregnancy rate. In rural areas, young girls also report frequent sexual assaults. Still, advocates say breast ironing is an inappropriate solution to both problems: A News Video.Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/africa/cameroon/breast-ironing-affects-one-four-girls-cameroon#ixzz1QUKsnhZD

Breast Ironing Affects One in Four Girls in Cameroon


The practice of “breast ironing” – described as brutal by many young girls here – is on the rise in Cameroon. The procedure involves flattening young girl’s growing breasts with hot stones in order to curb the country’s skyrocketing teen pregnancy rate. In rural areas, young girls also report frequent sexual assaults. Still, advocates say breast ironing is an inappropriate solution to both problems: A News Video.

Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/africa/cameroon/breast-ironing-affects-one-four-girls-cameroon#ixzz1QUKsnhZD

Filed under Gender Justice Breast Cancer Health Community Culture

5 notes

Mental Illness on the Rise Among Women in Rural Nepal

An increasing number of women in rural areas report suffering from mental illness. Experts attribute this to poverty, illiteracy, gender injustice, civil war and neglect. Doctors cite a lack of facilities, knowledgeable personnel and government support in treating these women. Government officials say policies are in place, but they just need to be executed.


In Nepal, there has been a gradual increase in awareness of mental health in the general population and the number of people seeking treatment, according to a 2006 World Health Organization, WHO, report. There is a national mental health policy, and psychotropic drugs are now widely available.


But Nepal has only one official psychiatric hospital, and mental health services are scarce in remote and rural areas, according to the WHO. Recent statistics on mental illness and effective health legislation are also lacking. Financial constraints complicate care, as the majority of Nepalis live in extreme poverty. To date, the government has allocated little of the budget to mental health care.



Woman in NepalRead more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/asia/nepal/mental-illness-rise-among-women-rural-nepal?page=2#ixzz1Q70YDM13

(Source: )

Filed under health women's rights social justice mental illness Nepal law and society gender justice depression marriage