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Here’s to women’s health

In the 1990s, the all-girl British pop group the Spice Girls coined the term “girl power.” It aptly described the cultural phenomenon of women empowerment through ambition, assertiveness, and individualism. As the first to leave the group, Ginger Spice, a.k.a. Geri Halliwell, continued to spread the word. As United Nations’ goodwill ambassador to the Population Fund, she visited the Philippines in 1999 to speak about women’s rights and issues, particularly reproductive and sexual health.

 “Ever since I entered the media arena, I’ve always stood for the empowerment of women and that’s what the UNFPA is about, and I’ll be promoting the empowerment of women in developing countries,” Halliwell said. Spoken like a true woman-warrior, indeed.

With this in mind, women should be aware of the seriousness of reproductive health — the basis for having healthy children, intimate relationships, and happy families. Because women, both rich and poor, have the right to access health care services that will enable them to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth, and provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant.

To help educate women on health and wellness concerns, Bayer Schering Pharma recently invited members of the press to the “Women in Sight” media camp at Sonya’s Garden in Tagaytay.

Guests were encouraged to participate in mind, body, and spirit activities like a creativity workshop by Dr. Antee Bass-Hernandez, UP head of the Speech and Drama Department, a capoiera demo and lessons from Escola Brasileira de Capoeira and, of course, a “From Burnout to Work-life Balance” workshop by Hazel Ancheta Jover of Business Maker Academy. Plus, there was bossa-nova cover-girl Sitti’s not so ever-changing performance, a series of talks on women’s health issues and Bayer’s reproductive health programs.

National chairwoman of Pilipina and trustee of several NGOs and health care associations Rina Jimenez-David admits that she is not a women’s health expert although she writes a lot about it. Because women haven’t been heard enough, Jimenez-David hopes to make women’s health a political issue and that  reproductive health would have popular public support.

“It’s about time we focused our efforts on promoting reproductive healthcare for women,” says Jimenez-David. “It is something that everyone in the community should be involved in.”

It’s certainly good to know that Bayer Schering Pharma has an information and education campaign for women’s health led by ob-gynes. Known as Coffee in the City, this program features a series of lectures on reproductive health for those working in call centers.

Dr. Anthony Ancheta, head of the reproductive endocrinology and infertility unit and gynecologic endoscopy unit at the department of obstetrics and gynecology of Medical City, discussed the issues involving women’s reproductive health. He explained the different methods of contraception, effectivity ration, and health benefits.

When it comes to the pill, myths and misconceptions are difficult to separate. Women often get conflicting information, whether it is good or bad. If you are not sure, the answer is quite simple: Get your information only from reliable sources that include doctors and health-care practitioners.

To set the record straight, Ancheta explains, “The effects of pills vary from one woman to another. That is why you need to be under the care and supervision of a physician before you start any regimen.” 

Another women’s reproductive health care advocacy of BSP is the Let’s Talk campaign. Here, the reproductive health program includes the launch of the women’s healthcare website, online community and public service drive, and well-being hotline.

Dr. Lyra Chua, head of the women’s health care clinic at the new Medical City, gave updates on oral contraception like trends and benefits.

Chua explains, “Aside from the traditionally known benefits of oral contraceptive pills or OCPs, there are other emerging benefits that women need to know. There is a reproductive healthcare plan suited for every woman. It is always important to consult with an ob-gyne before using oral contraceptives.” 

With a company like Bayer Schering Pharma that focuses on women’s reproductive health and well-being, at least the modern woman can have medical options, from contraceptives to individualized menopause management and even treatment of gynecological disorders.

“Continuous research on oral contraception has now led to much improved products like Bayer’s Yasmin and Diane 35,” says Raul Lasquety, BSP women’s healthcare group product manager. “This is what Bayer Women’s Healthcare aims to do — empower women by advancing the healthcare we provide them.”

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For more information, call 887-9775 or log on to www.bayer.com.

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