The Co-founder and Executive Secretary of Indigenous Women Empowerment Network (IWEN Ghana), Ms Celestina Maame Esi Andoh, has stressed the need to ensure that disadvantaged and vulnerable indigenous women and girls across the globe, especially those in Africa get equal benefits from digital and technological innovations for their improved health and well-being.
In a statement to mark the 2023 International Women’s Day, on March 8., Ms Andoh called on world leaders to partner with civil society and citizens to support global-driven and gender-sensitive approaches to close the existing digital gender divide.
According to the Executive Secretary, quality digital health solutions can help overcome the female data gap and fragmentation of face-to-face services that have affected women’s health, particularly sexual and reproductive health (SRH).
Digital technology, she noted, can unlock access to services and empower women with information that can be designed for their individual needs and lifestyles.
‘‘Digital solutions for women’s health will further help create more opportunities to serve unmet needs for women’s health, improve medical research, and deliver better, cost-efficient health care outcomes for women especially adolescents,” Ms Andoh suggested.
Research, according to her, suggests that people sometimes shy away from discussing health topics historically labelled as “taboo” such as reproductive health, pregnancy loss, female sexual health and pleasure, period health, infertility, postnatal depression, incontinence, pelvic floor dysfunction, breastfeeding, and menopause.
She added, ‘‘even well-intentioned healthcare providers are sometimes insufficiently informed to create and offer effective solutions and support for women’’.
The social worker said digital solutions for women’s health can also help address social stigma for the delivery of health care, for example with telemedicine consultations on sexual health, abortions and menopause.
Ms Andoh revealed that her organisation in the second quarter of this year launched a new project on women’s health code-named, ‘‘My Digital Doctor’’ which aims to put women’s needs and voices at the core of health care products and services, thus empowering women to prioritize and openly discuss their health and wellness.
She noted that the five-year project will increase and improve knowledge of women’s health issues, as well as improve access to women’s health data through digital offerings.
The Executive Secretary called on agencies, such as USAID, Japan International Cooperation Agency, World Bank, Korea International Cooperation Agency, International Medical Corps, UNICEF, UNFPA, WHO, Project Hope, CARE International, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and corporate entities to support the project.
‘‘This would enable us to provide about one million vulnerable and marginalised women and girls in deprived and hard-to-reach communities in Ghana with improved quality health care services,’’ she said.
IWEN Ghana was established in 2018 as a women’s rights-based organisation by an indigenous woman who identified the need to bring together indigenous women and make a change.
The organisation works to empower indigenous women, and young people especially girls and disabled persons to realise their full potential, worth and strength through empowerment and advocacy activities.
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