Women Have Higher Risk of TB Morbidity, Mortality, Advocate Says
Women have a higher risk of contracting tuberculosis and dying from the disease compared with men, Pauline Muchina, a Kenyan women's health advocate, said recently, VOA News reports.
According to VOA News, more than 900 million women worldwide have TB, and a recent United Nations report found that the disease causes more deaths among women than all other causes of maternal mortality combined. According to Muchina, some global TB figures might not illustrate TB's full effect on African women, who often serve as the primary caretakers of people living with HIV. Muchina said that many women lack sufficient training for how to care for people with HIV/TB coinfection and that women therefore have an increased risk of contracting TB when caring for an HIV-positive person.
According to the U.N. report, women often wait longer than men to seek medical attention for TB because of social factors such as stigma. According to Muchina, many women also choose to put the health of their families before their own personal health because they "can't afford to divert the small family resources for their own medical care." In addition, some women experience violence related to contracting a disease, Muchina said, adding that she has "seen cases of women who have been beaten by their husbands because they have declared their status to them." Muchina said that she encourages women to seek medical treatment for TB as soon as possible because "[h]ealth is paramount if they are to continue providing care to their families" (Mvunganyi, VOA News, 4/4).