In a press briefing today, November 13, 2023, Dr. Richard Mugahi, the Assistant Commissioner in charge of Reproductive and Infant Health, highlighted the significant disparity in life expectancy between men and women. According to Dr. Mugahi, women have an average life expectancy of 66 years, while men lag behind at 63 years.
The upcoming International Men’s Day (November 19), which Uganda is to celebrate on November 30, 2023 at Kololo Ceremonial grounds, will act as a platform to sensitize men on the importance of visiting healthcare systems, undergoing early medical check-ups, and fostering a supportive environment for men’s health.
“We want to use the International Men’s Day to inform men about the need for early checks and being friendly to healthcare systems, which can detect any health issues early and get help,” said Dr.Mugahi.
Dr. Mugahi emphasized the need for men to break free from social stigmas, such as the notion that they should not exhibit emotions, leading to them facing challenges silently. This internalization and lack of emotional expression have contributed to higher rates of mental health issues among men.
Domestic gender-based violence also affects men, as the perception of male strength can lead to their vulnerability in abusive relationships. Dr. Mugahi stressed the significance of men speaking up early and the importance of child spacing to ensure responsible parenting.
On a global scale, women tend to outlive men, with established countries showing a gap of 4-7 years in life expectancy. Researchers attribute this phenomenon to higher rates of cardiovascular diseases in men, along with biological factors. Estrogen, present in women, has been found to combat conditions like heart disease by aiding in reducing harmful cholesterol levels. Additionally, women are believed to possess stronger immune systems compared to men.
As International Men’s Day Celebrations approach, the aim is to address these health disparities, promote the importance of early health checks, and encourage openness and support for men’s mental and physical well-being.