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Comparison on the Different Levels Women's Healthcare Reached in Poland and Nepal

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The United Nations has acknowledged women’s health as a major contributor to the overall stability of a country. Policies in regards to women’s reproductive health and the overarching factors they affect have become a key issue to the United Nations. The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women played a key role in bringing women’s health issues to the forefront of a country’s political agenda. The main goal, in regards to women’s health, was to remove all “barriers interfering with access to health services, education and information, including the area of sexual and reproductive health” (Nations, 2011). Each country was to take on the task of providing for the women within their land and protect their interests in order to allow for them to take on an active role within society. In doing research, Poland and Nepal are currently at completely different standpoints regarding health care policies and government practices. On one hand, the country of Poland gives their citizens options whereas there aren’t any options to choose from in Nepal.

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Over time, Nepal has truly increased their standard of living, which has led the country to positive human development and even more specifically, women’s development. Though these structures have improved greatly over the years, Nepal still has one of the lower standards for women around the world. Gender, religion, social standing, and race often effect how people are treated around globally. In Nepal, women find themselves isolated from society and under rare circumstances will they find themselves content with their health care options. Unfortunately, women do not have much say in these policies nor do they get to make decisions for themselves regarding health care. “Women find themselves in a vicious circle that drives the discrimination against their gender.” (Banskota, Pg. 1)

Recently, Nepal has been going through changes in terms of government and principles. Nepal created a constitution, which developed in 1948 but was not ever fully put into effect. “At the moment, there is a new Interim Constitution implemented in 2007, basically designed for a Constituent Assembly that would draft a new constitution for the Federal Republic of Nepal.” (Banskota, Pg.159) Nepal has recently been trying to work with democracy, but has struggled in reducing the King’s power over the country. The people of Nepal, specifically women, have little to no support in their health care, even though they are slowly progressing. Life expectancy, adult literacy, per capita income and educational attainment index numbers are all lower in Nepal than in other areas like Brahmin and Chhertri. Though these numbers are still low, Nepal is progressing from what it used to be. Currently, in Nepal, there is a 33 percent representation of women in the Constituent Assembly (Banskota Pg.160). This is a reasonably strong representation of women considering Nepal’s history and this allows for women to somewhat partake in matters regarding health care and certain policies. A majority of the delegates in this country still belong to the Maoist Party, whose decisions are mostly based on class orientation.

Health care in Nepal is not nearly at the place where it should be and women are suffering the consequences. “According to UNICEF (2006, p.155), one woman dies every two hours in Nepal due to pregnancy- and child-birth related complications” (Banskota Pg. 161) Maternal and infant mortality are among one of the larger problems Nepal is dealing with. The country has gotten slightly better in vaccinating their women and children, but this does not prevent respiratory infections, waterborne diseases and some malnutrition issues, which are the main causes of death among children. The democracy being introduced in Nepal has slightly benefited women while contrarily costing the country a fortune. This creates somewhat of a cycle where the country spends funds to create better living standards but is losing so much money that it decreases common living standards. This leads to pulling funding for women and in general, which defeats the initial purpose. “Nepal’s new Constitution (1990) established a more inclusive state and declared Nepal as “multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and democratic” and that all citizens are “equal irrespective of religion, race, gender, caste, tribe, or ideology.”” (Banskota, Pg.162) Though it is clear Nepal has a long way to equality, it’s evident they are at least trying. Women don’t necessarily get the treatment or health care they need but it is in progress and that is better than non-existent.

Poland took on a new model after World War II which follows the principles of the former Soviet Socialist Republics as it places every citizen on an equal playing field. Beginning in the 1980’s there was a shift in the healthcare system in order to strengthen it claiming that the government is the sole leader and responsibility for keeping the nation healthy. It was now open to the individual of the nation to make sure they were keeping healthy and therefore contributing to the economically sphere of Poland. This led to a competition, between the private and the public health sectors, on who was going to provide healthcare for these people and take responsibility for them.

On the political end new laws and regulations were put into place to ensure the rights of the individual patient were not taken advantage of; as well as the professionals who were providing these services were protected as well. “Nurses were eligible to sign civil-legal agreements and claim nursing benefits” (Czajka, 2011) the idea was to ensure the country would stay healthy and the people productive contributors to society. When it came to economics the health care system was set up as market where the patient, being the consumer, faced the burden of paying for it where the system lacked. In the early 2000’s this changed with the adoption of having policies to fit the individual. The specific needs of the individual were considered by the institutions and changed how they were treated afterwards. The institutions now had to provide nothing but the best care for their patients as this was kept in check by being able to present well trained professions and ISO certificates. The medical professionals were now solely there to understand the needs of their patients and be able to adapt to their specific needs as well.

The Act of 1998 came into effect and changed how new principles of health care and the privatization of it could be played out. Social Welfare systems were being regulated to match the level of competition individuals faced and the new burden being placed upon them. New institutions were being set up to handle how funds were being spend in the public sphere; there was a transition from public funding being used to new independent health care systems and funds taking over. This lead to high levels of competition and the need for the “Act on the universal health insurance at the National Health Fund, which is in force till today” (Czajka, 2011). This guarantees the rights of the people are protected no matter what their financial status may be they still have the fundamental right of medical care still available to them. This allows for reimbursements to be given back to the people who cannot afford certain medicines while at the same time promising they will receive them. This ensures the health of the nation is one of Poland’s main concerns and keeping everyone’s health at a stable level is on the political as well as the economic agenda they hold.

When it comes to the commercialization of the health care system it is important to break down the availability to each Polish member. Individuals have the right to be compensated for any wrong doing they receive while in the hospitals of Poland. Making sure the facilities as well as the faculty are playing out their role in a reasonable way can be tested in the court system. These damages can only be compensated if the failure was in the hospital system and not other private sector businesses. They look at the accountable of the medical staff and the wrong doing itself to make sure justice is carried out for the individual. Many health care professionals and Trade Unions of Health Services are against this as it puts medical professional in an unfair position of judgement and ridicule. Since new acts are being instilled there is a regulating system are intact to “reform the health system to constitute a stable foundation of Poland” and make sure there is a balance between protecting the rights of the individual, but also making sure they do not abuse these rights as well.

Around the world, there are noticeable differences within how a country governs their people. Specifically regarding women, health care and government practices aren’t as fully developed as they should be. Advancements have been made to establish equality amongst men and women of any race, social standing, or religion though each country has a different stance on development and equality regarding women and the political sphere. Nepal and Poland are completely different in their inner workings but they both have the main priority of creating equality eventually in the future. Even with the difference in societal hierarchy between the two countries the governments recognize in order to have stability within a country the health of all citizens, especially the women are children, are vital to accomplish.

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