Hesperian Health Guides
Chapter 10: Staying Healthy
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Most of this book describes health problems and what to do about them. But many of these problems can be prevented (stopped before they start) by better nutrition, cleanliness, rest, and by meeting women’s basic health needs. So in this chapter we describe some of the things a woman, her family, and her community can do to prevent illness.
Healthy communities help women stay healthy. Healthy women can care for their families. Healthy families can contribute more to the community.
It is not always easy for women to prevent illness. Although they do a lot to keep their families and communities healthy, many women have difficulty finding the time, energy, and money to pay attention to their own health needs. Since women are often taught to put the needs of others first, they have little time left for themselves after caring for their families. And the family’s limited resources are often spent on the children and men first.
Yet, in the long run, it saves a lot of pain and stress to prevent health problems before they start rather than treating them later. Some of these things do not take much time or money. Others take some extra time, effort, and money—at least in the beginning. But since prevention builds the health and strength of a woman, her family, and her community, life will be easier and better later on.