An Oldham interfaith group that has proved a breath of fresh air for women by organising walking trips and holding sessions on aspects of culture and hate crime, embarked on a new mission recently:
To get forgotten voices heard when it comes to health.
Women Growing Together (WGT) brings different ethnic and faith communities closer and challenges stereotypes through friendship, knowledge, and fun.
Its latest event was an appointment with our founder Dr Anita Sharma, where concerns about not being taken seriously by doctors and seeing locums instead of family medic, were high on the agenda.
Concerns were also raised regarding the stigma attached to gynaecological issues such as menopause and even cancer.
Said Dr Sharma: “My mantra is ‘When we get it right for women, everyone in our society benefits’, but we have made slow progress when it comes to women’s health. Endometriosis is a prime example of this. It affects 1.5 million females in the UK and impacts the physical and mental health of 190 million globally and yet awareness of this debilitating condition remains low, sometimes even within the medical profession.”
Dr Sharma went on to highlight the government’s first Women’s Health Strategy – outlining its ambitions and the actions now being taken to improve the health and wellbeing of women and girls in England. She stressed how listening to women was the key to improving everything from maternity choices to research, evidence, and data and information education, and workplace wellbeing.
The Queen Elizabeth Hall event also saw discussions around wellbeing and how women can look after their own health.
Dr Sharma concluded: “There was a great atmosphere when people shared ideas and opportunities for women to try new things and connect again in the future, whether that be a faith event, exercise sessions or enjoying the many green spaces here in Oldham. At this worrying time internationally, what a positive it was to see women working together to break down barriers and work collaboratively for the benefit of everyone.”
The Women Growing Together group meets on the first Tuesday of every month to plan and organise events, welcoming women of all faiths and backgrounds. If you would like information about future events or would like to attend a meeting, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Our founder has teamed-up with experts at The University of Manchester to urge MPs to do all they can to revolutionise the control of dangerous infections.
And it’s all because when it comes to the antibiotics that clear them up, the drugs don’t work.
GP Dr Anita Sharma and Tjeerd van Staa, Professor of Health Research at The University of Manchester (pictured) have used World Antibiotics Awareness Week (18-24 November) to call on all sides of the House to encourage more support, encouragement and resources to be put into properly preventing the urinary tract infections (UTIs) that currently harm HALF of the women in long term care facilities .
“Since there has been no breakthrough in developing new antibiotics in half a century, this is a case of prevention rather than cure,” said Dr Sharma. “But as COVID revealed, sometimes our care homes and hospitals can be poorly supported and their hard-working staff underqualified and beleaguered. Trust me, a urinary tract infection is painful, but when added to a condition like dementia it becomes a dangerous crisis.”
Dr Sharma’s claim is backed up by website NHS Choices, which states: “Older, frail people can have changes in behaviour, such as acting agitated or confused (delirium), wetting themselves (incontinence) that is worse than usual, new shivering or shaking (rigors).”
Continued Dr Sharma: “I have seen how rigorous infection control can be at some local care homes and certainly on wards, but I wonder if this is enough. Are they able to ensure every resident is clean and hydrated when they have so little time to deal with so many? Do they understand the danger of antibiotic resistant infections? Some doctors don’t!”
Professor Tjeerd has been working with Dr Sharma in a Manchester University group examining the impact of antimicrobial resistance. “Infections morph and change and sadly, new antibiotics have not been developed to prevent this” he said, “that means what was once cured is no longer treatable and old conditions such as scarlet fever have returned. This is deeply worrying especially for those with compromised immune systems. If we are not prepared to act with urgency to find new drugs, then we have to do more to prevent infections. I hope the politicians realise this. If we are not prepared to act with urgency to find new drugs, then we have to do more to prevent infections and to better use the current antibiotics.”
Women’s health expert Dr Sharma also asked for a national campaign to promote decent sexual health to stop infections developing.
“One of the worst things about UTIs is their propensity to come back again” continued Dr Sharma. “and with reports of antibiotics proving increasingly redundant in treating them, that is disconcerting. A UTI might start as a bladder infection (cystitis) and could worsen into a more serious kidney infection (pyelonephritis) or urosepsis (a serious infection throughout your body). That means a medical emergency.
UTIs could be just the tip of the iceberg. If we cannot find new antibiotics quickly then preventing infections is the only answer.
It’s either that or a crisis on a par with COVID.”
Click onto our brand new movie, detailing what Endometriosis Awareness North is all about Endometriosis Awareness North - YouTube
Featuring our treasured case study Courtney, it also gives medics a platform to call for quicker diagnosis of endometriosis.
With thanks to filmmakers Andrea Bertozzi and Pete Gibson Media.