Primary obstetrics and gynecology in developing countries: Shifting the focus to older women's health

Melissa A. Simon*, Xin Qi Dong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When one thinks of the field of women's health in the developing world, traditionally, one immediately relates it to maternal health and care of those women of reproductive age. Little attention is given to older women's health care. Yet it has been documented that older women with poor access to care have higher age-adjusted mortality. As the abundant existing reproductive-aged women become older, the number of older women in the developing world will increase. In 1994, nearly 312 million of the world's 469 million elderly women resided in developing countries. Currently, out of the 600 million older women worldwide, there are over 400 million older women living in the developing world. It is estimated that by 2020 five out of seven will reside in developing countries, an absolute increase of about 360 million compared to 87 million in developed countries. This article focuses on some of the existing health problems, such as breast and cervical cancer, and their barriers in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment in older women in developing countries. It then discusses the emerging issues from a neglect of the multifaceted problems of older women's health. Finally, there is a call for a multidisciplinary approach to proposed solutions for future directions in this desperately needed field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-303
Number of pages4
JournalPrimary Care Update for Ob/Gyns
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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