Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Shocking Statistics About Women's Health Care in Kashmir

Kashmiri women are twice as likely to have reproductive health issues as women in rest of the country

61 % of married women suffer from reproductive problems: Study

Srinagar: The two decades of conflict has resulted in one or more reproductive health problems in almost 61 percent of married women in the State, a study by National Family Health Survey (NFHS) has revealed.

“The impact of Kashmir conflict on women here has resulted in drastic increase in the incidences of reproductive health disorders,” Help Foundation CEO, Iqbal Lone told Rising Kashmir, while quoting a study by NFHS conducted in 2008.

Against national percentage average of 39 percent, he said, the study has found almost 61 percent married women reporting with one or more reproductive health problems.

“Prior to 1989 the percentage was same as in rest of India which is 39 percent. The upward slant is a result of conflict,” Lone said.

The same survey, he said, has revealed that the prevalence of reproductive health problems in Kashmir generally decreases with age and that reproductive health problems are slightly more common among rural women (61percent) than urban women (57 percent).

Quoting from study, Lone added, “The reproductive health problems are far more common among Muslim women which is 72 percent, than among Hindu which is 47percent and in Sikh women, it is just 32 percent.”

Lone said that violence and trauma has deeply scarred women and children, particularly the widows and orphans.

“Increase in violence against women in Kashmir, cases of rape, juvenile delinquency, domestic abuse, atrocities against women are all directly correlated to increase in psychosocial disorders among people,” he said. He said that ever growing incidence and cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other psychosocial disorders among the victims of conflict are particularly women and children.

Meanwhile, a psychiatrist Dr Majid said the chronic stress is associated with hypertension, peptic ulcer disease, fluctuating blood sugars in diabetics, menstrual irregularities, abortions and other reproductive problems.

“All these could be due to irregularity in hormonal levels in HPA (Hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis), which indirectly controls the emotions and responds in stressful situations,” he said.

“Actually psychological implications in women living in conflict zones are a hidden diagnosis. It exhibits iceberg phenomenon which means most of them are not reported,” Dr Majid added.

The psychiatrist believes it is mainly women who suffer more than men in any armed struggle. “So need of the hour is to increase awareness about clinical manifestation,” he said.

(Rising Kashmir)

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