It is often challenging to have health care services that meet the needs of Canada’s diverse population and the needs of both men and women. Gender influences access to care and women in particular are at risk for face difficulties to care (Ontario Women`s Health Equity Report, 2010 p.1). Women are more likely to be poor and have greater caregiver responsibilities in contrast to men. These both factors are barriers to accessing health services. The way the health care system is organized creates barriers to accessing effective care for women because it has failed to take into account that men and women use the health care system very differently. Canada’s health care system reinforces gender inequity rather than eliminating it. For instance, drug research bias favour males and epistemological bias assume that women’s health is only about reproductive health. As a result of these biases, women are often excluded and their health needs are not fully addressed. The Romanow Report (2002) and the Accord on Health Care Renewal (2003) has made a strong commitment to understanding the importance of the non-medical determinants of health, such as income and social status; employment; education; social environments; physical environments; healthy child development; personal health practices and coping skills; health services; social support networks; gender; and culture (Health Canada, 2001). They have also committed to gender based analysis and women’s health but, this is not visible in its work to date on Canada’s health care reform. This paper will address how the Romanow Report, the Accord on Health Care Renewal and current health policies have failed to address the health needs of women in regards to support for family members providing care, primary health care, and prescription drug coverage. Even though it is acknowledged that women are both the majority of the users of the health care system and the majority of health care providers (Armstrong et al., 2005).
Failure of Addressing Women’s Health Needs
Supporting Family Members Providing Care
Gender-based analysis is a critical component of reforming Canada’s health system as it helps policymakers understand disparities in health status, how health and illness are experienced and how men and women access and interact with the health system (Health Canada, 2003). Today’s health care system does not take gender into account because it does not considers the kinds of care and support that women define as important to their health and well-being.
In 2002, Commissioner Roy J. Romanow, released a report entitled the Romanow Report offering recommendations on how to reform and renew Canada’s health care system. The Report stresses the importance of health equity and addressing the differing health care needs of men and women, in order to improve access of health services. A recommendation the Report lists is, “developing programs and services that recognize the different health care...