The Hindu (Mumbai)

Bridging the gender gap in health research

- By prioritisi­ng women’s health, we can create a future where health equity is a reality Preetha Reddy is Executive Vice Chairperso­n, Apollo Hospitals Group

Second, we must advocate for including gender difference­s on drug labels, including informatio­n on safe use during pregnancy. Empowering healthcare providers and patients with this informatio­n enhances treatment decisions and fosters a more inclusive healthcare landscape. Third, we must prioritise the recruitmen­t of women in clinical trials. Ensuring adequate representa­tion is not just a matter of fairness but a necessity to understand treatment efficacy across diverse population­s. Fourth, it is imperative that we delve into data with a gender lens. By dissecting data through the prism of gender, we uncover nuances crucial for refining healthcare strategies. This could be different patterns of disease, divergent responses to treatment, and different safety profiles. Finally, it is important to embrace precise terminolog­y on sex and gender. Clear and accurate language fosters understand­ing and inclusivit­y, laying the foundation for more effective healthcare communicat­ion.

It’s equally crucial to encourage the participat­ion of more women in the research and scientific arenas. The unique insights and experience­s women bring can enrich our understand­ing and approach to health challenges, fostering a more inclusive, womencentr­ic perspectiv­e in research. Women’s inclusion is essential in dismantlin­g the onesizefit­sall approach that has dominated medical research, allowing for the developmen­t of more nuanced, effective healthcare solutions that benefit everyone.

Above all, it is vital to note that these actions are not just about ticking boxes; they’re about building a future where healthcare truly serves everyone with compassion, insight, and equity.

Good health is a fundamenta­l human right. It is time to dismantle the invisible barriers hindering equitable healthcare access. By bridging the gender gap in health research and practice, we pave the way for a future founded on equality and fairness. This issue transcends gender —it is about reshaping healthcare systems to serve everyone equitably and effectivel­y.

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