Indian Women Reveal Horrifying Experiences With Gynaecologists

Gather around kids, it’s time for #ObGynTales.

Alright, don’t get too excited. We wish this was about some heart-warming children’s film featuring a bumbling mythical beast. But ever since the hashtag hit Twitter, it’s been an explosive way for women to share their experiences with reproductive health care, and it’s not pretty.

Hosted by @genderlogindia, the anecdotes that came up ranged from the shocking to the insensitive to the ridiculous. And each one highlights where we’re going horribly wrong:

In 2015, the National Health Mission found that rural health centres had a massive provider shortage—there were only 23.4% of the required number of obstetricians and gynaecologists. By the following year, things hadn’t gotten much better, as ob-gyns were still missing from 62% of government hospitals. And even at private institutions, there’s no real guarantee your ObGyn will be sensitive!

With conditions like these, things are bound to go awry. Not only are women’s reproductive health care needs being heavily underserved, but the fear of being judged, bullied and shamed by the doctor puts people in a really tight spot:

Dare we even ask what happens to trans men and non-binary people who seek out these doctors?

After hundreds of women had had their say, the conversation took an important turn. A very useful document was shared with the Twitterverse. A crowdsourced masterlist of non-judgemental and reliable ObGyns in various Indian cities. The list was compiled by Twitter user Amba Azad three years ago, and is perhaps the only saving grace in this awful situation.

Hopefully, this conversation will continue to swell in the coming days, as more and more women come out with their stories, and share advice and resources with each other. At least until our health institutions learn to root out their prejudices, and make up for their many, many shortcomings.

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