Men’s Global Healthcare is Woefully Underfunded

man smoking, smoking, drinking, health, men's health, mortality, united nations, sarah hawkes, london

Despite men being statistically less healthy than women, global health funding has been largely focused on women.

For the past decade, men’s health issues have taken backseat to women’s health issues as far as funding is concerned.

Sarah Hawkes from the University of London’s Institute of Global Health said that programs and policies for men have been “notably absent” for the past 10 years, even though men have shorter lifespans than women and are more likely to engage in risky behaviors like smoking and drinking. She is calling for more gender equality in global health funding.

“If you look at the top 10 health problems around the world, they are much more common in men,” she said, “but the current focus is predominantly on women’s health.”

Recent data has shown that men lose three times as many years of healthy living as women to tobacco and alcohol use.

in 2000, global leaders at the United Nations agreed on eight ways to improve the lives of the poorest people around the world: one goal is specifically targeted at maternal health, and all of the other goals “touch on essential aspects of women’s well-being, and in turn, women’s empowerment is critical for achieving the goals,” according to the U.N. Women’s website.

There are no goals specifically targeted to men, and men’s health doesn’t get its own website.

“We don’t want to see this money diverted away from women’s health,” said Hawkes, “but focusing on maternal health means you miss the biggest burdens of disease.”

Health economist Karen Grepin of New York University says, “If we focus on closing inequality, we’ll miss the boat. The goal is to reduce mortality, not to reduce inequalities in the measure of mortality.”

Grepin argues that unhealthy women—mothers specifically—have a devastating effect on households, especially to their children.

“There are really important consequences for women’s health. They play a large role in taking care of children. When they get sick, there’s a spillover effect in the house—for the next generation.”

But an argument like this negates the importance of men in families, addresses men’s health from the standpoint of a “normal” 1950s family, one in which the man is merely the breadwinner. But around the world that is not the case. Men play an equally important role as women in the lives of their children, and in families with gay parents, men are the only parents. If the goal of healthcare is to reduce mortality, shouldn’t equal attention be paid to the sex with the shorter lifespan? Wouldn’t equal healthcare funding actually reduce mortality by lengthening the lives of half of the world’s population?

Photo: francoiskarm/Flickr

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

NOW TRENDING ON GMP TV

Flight or Fight
Forever Boogies
Are You A Narcissist?

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Abigail Ortlieb

Abigail is a graduate student at Emerson College in Boston. While she pursues her MA in electronic publishing and writing, she works as a freelance writer and editor and writes for the browser-based game, Alteil.

Comments

  1. Chivalry still exists, men’s issues are put behind women’s issues. Why oh why haven’t we all just gone to a proportional system? If men need 20 wibblies and women need 15 wibblies then don’t give women 30 wibblies and men 5…

  2. Health economist Karen Grepin of New York University says, “If we focus on closing inequality, we’ll miss the boat. The goal is to reduce mortality, not to reduce inequalities in the measure of mortality.”
    Well if the goal is to reduce mortality then doesn’t it make sense to also look at the groups with the highest mortality rates?

    Grepin argues that unhealthy women—mothers specifically—have a devastating effect on households, especially to their children…..”There are really important consequences for women’s health. They play a large role in taking care of children. When they get sick, there’s a spillover effect in the house—for the next generation.”
    Translation: Dads aren’t important to children so its not as big of a deal if they don’t live as long.

    Its wrong to “live in the 50s” when it comes to thinking that women in the workplace isn’t important but its just dandy to “live in the 50s” when it comes to thinking men’s health is not important?

    Maybe this is my vengeance streak talking here but there some seems to be something odd. When looking at crime rates, like say rape, the focus is on men because they commit most it. But when it comes to something like health the fact that men are generally in the poorest of health means nothing.

    Its like we matter when we’re up to no good but aren’t a blip on the radar when we could use a hand….

  3. I think this article outlines the solid reasoning, maternal health. Keeping women healthy before, during, and after pregnancy helps improve the health of the children they give birth to. Also, if men are experiencing more health complications due to alcohol and tabacco use, maybe we need more global funding for alcohol and tabacco awareness. Nip the problem in the bud.

Speak Your Mind

*