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Which countries in Europe rank best in the world for women's health?

An index looking at women’s health globally found that women’s preventive healthcare is low and ranked countries based on several factors.
An index looking at women’s health globally found that women’s preventive healthcare is low and ranked countries based on several factors. Copyright Canva
Copyright Canva
By Oceane Duboust
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An index looking at women’s health globally found that women’s preventive healthcare is low and ranked countries based on several factors.

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Austria was the top country in Europe for women’s health, ranking third on a global index, according to a new report.

The country initiated an action plan with 40 measures specifically for women’s health in 2017.

Germany, Denmark, Poland, and the Czech Republic were the other EU countries among the top 10 in the world on women’s health.

This is the third year that the company Hologic published the Women’s Health Index, a survey conducted with more than 147,000 participants from 143 countries and territories. The data was gathered in 2022 and analysed in 2023.

The index takes into consideration criteria such as access to healthcare, emotional health, and food security.

Overall, the report found that women’s health, however, is in a state of emergency, saying "women are no better off today than they were in the first year of the survey, conducted in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic".

A concerning statistic found that one in four women have health problems that keep them from doing normal activities.

Women in the UK report feeling worse compared to those in the EU

Women in the UK reported feeling sadder, angrier and more stressed compared to women in the EU, the survey found.

According to the data, 32 per cent of British women reported feeling sad, compared with 26 per cent of women in the EU. Some 39 per cent felt stressed the day prior, while it was 34 per cent for those from the EU.

"We do need to make, a lot of progress when it comes to, I would say in the UK, preventative health care," Janet Lindsay, CEO at Wellbeing of Women, told Euronews Health.

"There is still a big gender health gap. I think for a long time, women's and girls' health care has played second fiddle," she added.

The UK ranked 37th out of the 143 countries included in the index.

Preventive healthcare to tackle the ‘big killers’

The report highlighted that nearly half of women in the EU have had their

blood pressure tested in the past 12 months while one in five women say they were tested for cancer.

Regarding diabetes, 24 per cent of women reported being screened for it in the same period. The UK scores are almost equivalent.

Fewer than one in ten women have been tested for sexually transmitted diseases or infections which are risk factors for HIV, cancer and infertility. For the UK, it’s one out of twenty.

"When it comes to tackling, the big killers, diseases like heart disease, dementia, and diabetes, which can be, long-term debilitating, it's so important that women and girls have access to tests and screening," Lindsay said, adding that attention given to women’s health would be beneficial to economy and society.

What can be done?

"We do need to make sure that we are spending much more on women's health research and that that money needs to help innovate in diagnosis and prevention, as well as treatments," she said.

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There's a growing recognition of the need for more research and resources dedicated to women's specific health issues such as menstruation or menopause.

Yet femtech, which is technology addressing women’s health, attracted just two per cent of the venture funding allocated for the entire healthcare industry, according to the consulting company Deloitte.

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