Op-Ed: Celebrating Women’s Health Week

This month, we celebrated the 18th annual observance of National Women’s Health Week, led by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office on Women’s Health, which kicked off on Mother’s Day (belated wishes to all Moms!) and was celebrated through May 20th.

During this week, and all year long, all women are encouraged to make their health a priority by taking steps for better health at every age. The Office on Women’s Health encourages women to:

  • Visit a doctor or nurse for well woman visit (checkup) and preventive screenings
  • Get active
  • Eat healthy
  • Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress
  • Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, texting while driving and not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet.

As a non-profit health and human service organization, Maternal & Family Health Services works diligently to improve the health of women and children in our communities by offering programs that prevent disease and promote wellness. Since 1971, MFHS has administered the delivery of essential and preventive services meeting the ever-changing needs of underserved women, children and families through information, education and quality care. We oversee a network of health and nutrition centers that annually serve well over 100,000 individuals in need through the following core programs: WIC (Women, Infant and Children) Nutrition Program; Cancer Screenings; Nurse-Family Partnership; Reproductive Health and Maternity Care.

Clearly, our organization is unwavering in its long-term commitment to women’s health and stands squarely behind the previously noted recommendations and the designation of this important week of awareness.

We do, however, share the concerns of such other non-profit organizations as ours which face funding challenges and shortfalls in light of some of the recent developments taking place at the state and federal levels.

Now, more than ever, we urge women to not only make health a priority, but to reach out to your local legislators to express your concerns over possible funding cuts that will adversely impact women—particularly those who are uninsured and underinsured and will likely be unable to receive important preventive care and screenings. Adequate options for accessing reproductive health care lead to better health for patients, their families, and our entire community.

Please visit our Advocacy page to easily find your state and federal elected officials and contact them to express your concern over potential funding shortfalls and possible program eliminations. You can make a real difference for women’s health by doing so.

Bette Cox Saxton
President & CEO, Maternal & Family Health Services
Wilkes-Barre