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India - Health for Girls

The Duncan Centenary Vision is preparing the Duncan Hospital in Bihar, India, to celebrate its centenary in 2030. In India, The Duncan Hospital is reaching out to surrounding communities to make sure girls who might otherwise be denied access to healthcare, get the care they require.

Girls' health in rural north India

Many young girls in Bihar state in the north of India are pushed into marriage as young as twelve. With poor healthcare already a reality, the girls are then denied access to education and the means to train for work to support themselves. At the extreme, girls in India are at the risk even in the womb. The country has banned gender identification during ultrasounds to tackle the scourge of foeticide, yet still at birth and throughout their lives girls are often denied access to healthcare, putting their lives at risk as a result. Pregnancy and childbirth expose women to unnecessary risk when quality maternity care isn’t available. This is exacerbated when child-marriage leads to child-pregnancy and when there is no effective prevention for the spread of HIV.

If a family member becomes ill, it is most often a female relative who will take on the mantle of care and household responsibility. Being forced to leave work and education, their poverty becomes further entrenched and they are denied opportunities to work toward a healthier and more prosperous future.

Tragically, despite having taken the role of carer and head of household, women are all too often disinherited. While they grieve for their husbands and fathers, male members of the extended family come and force them from their homes, claiming them for themselves.

Girls' health and empowerment

We are urgently working with The Duncan Hospital to address this problem and rescue girls from this modern slavery. The goal of the Duncan Hospital is to protect girls from child marriage, help them learn about their individual rights and get counselling on how to care for themselves and access health services should they need to.

For these reasons and so many more, EMMS International is committed to redressing the balance by making the health and healthcare of women and girls a priority across all of our work.

If you would like more information about Duncan Hospital, please contact EMMS International at: +44 (0)131 313 3828. Please consider supporting us in projects just like this one.

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