By Chito A. Chavez
Quezon City Vice-Mayor Joy Belmonte has vigorously pursued the construction of community health clinics exclusive for women to ensure they get the best healthcare from the city government.
Belmonte, a known advocate of women’s rights and welfare, said there are certain instances that women cannot just go to all-gender health clinics out of fear or embarrassment.
“Let’s admit it, sometimes we’re too shy to go the doctors to consult our health issues, especially when it comes to reproductive health so I came up with this idea of ‘women only’ health clinics,” the vice mayor said in time for the celebration of March as the National Women’s Month.
If possible, Belmonte said these women health clinics must also be staffed by women doctors and nurses to make the patients more comfortable and open in seeking medical help.
These special health clinics, she pointed out, would be dedicated to treating common women illnesses such as ovarian, cervical and breast cancers; reproductive health issues and sexually transmitted diseases, among others.
Citing data from the Department of Health (DOH), Belmonte said among the top killer diseases and health issues plaguing Filipino women are breast and cervical cancers, sexual and reproductive health problems, HIV, anxiety, depression, and somatic complaints.
Each year, she said half a million women die from cervical cancer and another half a million from breast cancer, many of them are in low and middle income countries where screening, prevention, and treatment are almost non-existent.
Early detection, Belmonte added, is key in keeping women alive and healthy, thus, the need for health clinics dedicated for women.
Belmonte has held “Women in Health” forum in many barangays to check if the residents, especially women, regularly receive the wide array of health services being offered by the City Health Department (CHD).