The perception of women’s health in Italy drops by four positions in one year – from 2020 to 2021 – according to the Global Women’s Health Index. For women’s prevention, our country therefore slips to 40th place in the standings (it was 36th). That’s not all: only 12% of Italian women underwent cancer prevention screening last year. This is what emerges from one of the most significant studies in the world on women’s health, created by Hologic, a company innovator in the field of global medical technology, and Gallup, a world leader in analysis.
To create the Index, now in its second edition, 66,000 women over the age of 15 in 122 countries around the world were interviewed. The analysis shows that, over the course of a year, the majority of Italian women did not undergo screening for cancer, heart disease, diabetes or sexually transmitted diseases/infections. In Italy, the research was conducted on a thousand women and was carried out in the months of August and September 2021.
The data collected was based on the survey of five interconnected dimensions: preventive care, emotional health, views on health and safety, basic needs and individual health. Together, these dimensions explain more than 80% of the variation in life expectancy of women worldwide. The numbers of the study, collected in Italy, have shown a particularly worrying reality. For example, although the global trend on the overall prevention score is improving, Italy has decreased its score from 20 to 17 points.
Even the results on a global scale did not provide a happy picture of the situation. It found that 85% of the women surveyed believed in the value of regular visits with a health professional. However, less than 59% have seen a doctor or specialist in the past year. Furthermore, only 12% said they had been tested for cancer.
“As a physician who has worked for decades with patients from different corners of the world – says Susan Harvey, vice president of Global Medical Affairs at Hologic, commenting on the scenario highlighted by the research – I have seen firsthand how early diagnosis of the disease makes a fundamental difference in life span and quality of life for women. When faced with choosing between health care for themselves and finding a meal for their families, chances are they don’t prioritize their health. Therefore, policymakers need to view preventive care as part of a multidimensional and mutually dependent set of factors that should be addressed together.
In this context, the Italian landscape is one of the most complicated among high-income countries. In fact, the analysis showed a clear decrease in preventive care, in general only 36% of Italian women said they had undergone examinations (43% in 2020) relating to specific diseases. In particular, only 12% said they had been checked for cancer and 13% for diabetes. As far as sexually transmitted infections are concerned, only 6% of women have had a check-up.
“The Hologic Global Women’s Health Index demonstrates Hologic’s commitment to improving people’s lives, especially women, through the development of concrete and innovative products – concludes Giacomo Pardini, Country Manager of Hologic Italia -. Our mission is to continue supporting women’s health around the world by developing solutions that are appropriate and trusted for professionals.”
The countries and territories with the highest scores, according to the Global Women’s Health Index, are Taiwan, Latvia, Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Switzerland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Israel and Norway. The countries and territories with the lowest scores, however, are Afghanistan, Congo, Venezuela, Turkey, Lebanon, Togo, Benin, Ecuador, Peru and Gabon. With a score of 57, Italy is in 40th place, the USA with a score of 61, are in 23rd position.
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