Today I found a news piece about men’s health in Kyrgyzstan with some interesting facts worth sharing. As gender is also about men and sometimes it is not clear that it is, I want to share some of my thoughts and available research about it.
The news piece covers a action on men’s health which is organized every year by Kyrgyz Republican Center of Urology. This year the action takes place in the south of Kyrgyzstan. The action basically encourages men to come to the hospital for free check-ups with a team of specialists working on men’s reproductive health issues. About 1500 men every year are recommended to receive treatment for their identified diseases during the action.
Men’s health has been the concern of the Ministry of Health and international organizations in the past years. Women Support Center conducted a research project on men’s attitudes to health care (available at their office or via email firstname.lastname@example.org). The main findings were that men in Kyrgyzstan generally disregard their health and consider turning to medical specialists for treatment as unmanly and weak. These attitudes result in poor health among men and leads to higher mortality rates and lower life expectancy. While women are expected to be future mothers and encourage to attend medical clinics or go for regular check-ups during pregnancies, men are rare clients in the doctors’ offices.
Kyrgyz Ministry of Health reports that suicides among men are three times more common than among women and 80% of people with HIV in Kyrgyzstan are men.
Rigid gender expectations about what is masculine (drinking alcohol, being too tough to see a doctor) seem to be affecting men in Kyrgyzstan at a large scale, yet the media and the parliament continue to perceive men as the ‘stronger sex’ which does not need gender equality. The issue is hardly talked about.