Saudi Arabia ahead of UK on women’s health index

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Women’s health care in the UK is worsening and has sunk to a level on par with Kazakhstan, a new survey shows.

The UK ranked 30th out of 122 countries in the latest Hologic Global Women’s Health Index, falling behind China and Saudi Arabia. Hologic Inc. and partner Gallup interviewed women to rate multiple measures from mental health to preventive care.

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The report strikes a chord in the UK, where the cash-strapped National Health Service is battling staff shortages and massive backlogs, raising concern about the quality of health care and its funding. Ambulance workers held their biggest strike on Monday, while junior doctors last week voted for industrial action.

The US ranked 23rd in the report, behind Germany, New Zealand and Singapore but ahead of France. Taiwan and Latvia scored the highest and Afghanistan the lowest. The survey showed a decline in women’s ability to meet their basic needs as well as record levels of stress, worry and anger.

“Women’s health has taken a back seat to nearly everything else going on in the world,” said Stephen MacMillan, chairman of Hologic, a US maker of medical devices and diagnostic products.

The UK dropped three points in the latest index, ranking on par with Poland, Slovenia and Kosovo besides Kazakhstan. It was among the fastest-declining countries for emotional health.

The US meantime remained an exception because higher health spending didn’t translate into better outcomes, the report said.

The 2021 findings are based on interviews with almost 127,000 women and men, with questions encompassing preventive care, emotional health, opinions of health and safety, and basic needs. The higher the score, the more women reported positive experiences.

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