Women's Health in Rural Uganda: Problems, Coping Strategies, and Recommendations for Change

William Rutakumwa, Naomi Krogman


This study draws upon 63 semi-structured interviews with rural women in central Uganda to elicit women's health problems, coping mechanisms, and recommendations for improved health services. The health problems most commonly reported by the women were sexually transmitted diseases, especially syphilis, abdominal pain, genital sores, and mental stress. Women indicated several barriers to obtaining health care, such as inaccessibility to health-care facilities, lack of time and money, and dependence on men for permission to leave the home. In response, they had devised several coping strategies for addressing their health problems, including ignoring the problem, self-care/medication, use of herbal/traditional medicine, and secret use of family planning services. The women indicated a need for medical laboratory services; family planning services; antenatal, maternity, and gynaecological services; and health counselling. They recommended health education for both genders, particularly for men regarding family planning.

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