A common pathway toward women's health
Chibber, K. S., Kaplan, R. L., Padian, N., Anderson, S. J., Ling, P. M., Acharya, N., ... Krishnan, S. (2008). A common pathway toward women's health. Global Public Health, 3(1), 26-38. DOI: 10.1080/17441690701523226
This paper calls for an alternate approach to studying the aetiology of women's health conditions. Instead of the long-established disease-specific, compartmentalized approach, it recommends focusing on risk exposures that allows for the identification of multiple disease conditions that stem from the same risk factors. Identifying common risk factors and the related pathways to adverse health outcomes can lead to the development of interventions that would favourably affect more than one disease condition. The utility of such an approach is illustrated by a review of literature from across the globe on the association between gender inequity-related exposures and women's health (namely, three health conditions: sexually transmitted infections [STIs], including Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV], blindness, and depression; as well as two risk behaviours: eating disorders and tobacco use). The review demonstrates how women's health cannot be viewed independently from the larger social, economic, and political context in which women are situated. Promoting women's health necessitates more comprehensive approaches, such as gender-sensitization of other family members, and the development of more creative and flexible mechanisms of healthcare delivery, that acknowledge the gender inequity-related constraints that women face in their daily lives.