Hesperian Health Guides
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Around the world, millions of women live in rural or urban areas ‘where there is no doctor’ or where health care is not affordable. Many women suffer and die needlessly because they lack access to health care and clear, useful information about their health.
This book is written for these women, and for anyone interested in improving women’s health. Using simple language and hundreds of pictures, it provides information about a wide range of women’s health problems. We hope that everyone—girls, women, and health workers—will find it useful, even life-saving. Our goal is to provide this information to as many women as possible, in as many places as possible.
We did not write this book alone. To make it useful, we asked women around the world about their health needs, beliefs, and practices—and what they would most like included in the book. Women from many countries met in groups to discuss health topics and sent us the results. This showed us that although women’s health services often focus on reproductive health, these women considered other topics just as impor tant to their health. So this book covers a wide range of issues that affect women’s health.
These same women also helped us write the book. Their voices, experiences, and stories helped shape the writing. We were guided by their comments about what was most helpful, what was unclear or incorrect, and whether this information would be useful in their communities.
If you can read, perhaps you can read this book to someone who cannot. If you know others who suffer from poor health, please share this book with them—this is not a book to be used by a woman alone. As we discover actions and ideas that can help solve women’s health problems, working together and learning from each other become important and necessary parts of change.
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