Researchers from Vanderbilt University in Nashville in the United States have explained that some COVID-19 policies in the United States may not be taking men’s health into consideration during this pandemic.
If men’s health is considered, the health of the country may be less impacted by the pandemic. The response to this situation affecting the genders should take women’s disproportionate socioeconomic affectation and the higher rate of death among men. There was no policy in the last administration or this new one addressing this problem.
When the topic of gender and health is brought up it is mostly centered around women's health. The problem however is that men are dying more in this period of the pandemic and women are suffering the financial burden of the pandemic. This is not a case of the battle of the sexes but if more is to be done to handle the virus’s spread and cause mortality, then more should be done to address the affectation among males.
EFFECT OF COVID-19 ON MALE HEALTH
Before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in 2019 in China and when cases started rising in China and around the world it was reported that as many as 75% of the deaths due to COVID-19 were men. In Italy, march 2020 had reports of a 4 out of 5 male fatality. This same pattern was found in the United States. A significant number of men are also dying in Nigeria. In Ghanaian studies is also documentation of more affectation in males
Gender inequalities have been seen to be greater than the differences between sexes and race.
The proportion of men receiving COVID-19 vaccination is also lower (40%) among the sexes, and has stayed the same over time according to one of the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.
Vaccination policies put into consideration those who are more likely to be affected and die from the virus such as those with chronic diseases and elderly citizens, in the same manner, more needs to be done to prioritize vaccination among males.
WHY IS THIS SO?
Most of the research done to explain the mortality among men tried to explain this occurrence by exploring the behavioral and perceptual peculiarities surrounding masculinity. The parameters used to outline these differences between the sexes were wearing masks, testing, and resistance to guidelines and COVID-19 mandates.
Some studies showed that the men were less likely to believe that they would be affected by COVID-19 and men with the stereotypical male role were less likely to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
Some studies have tried to relate these incidences to a difference in response to the virus, linking it to a more biological occurrence.
These factors may be the cause of the problem, but notwithstanding, socioeconomic and healthcare systems are all to be placed as important to see some change take place.
All around the world, mortality among males is typically blamed on bad health habits among men, the view of masculinity, and on the immune response to the virus. This is mostly a cultural perception of men and how they deal with health. The solution to this problem should include encouraging men to wear masks, discussions on unequal death rates among men, and encouraging men to take the vaccine.
HOW CAN CHANGES TAKE PLACE
Although articles on gender disproportion exist, there has been no process put into place to effect the change.
If the message could be targeted towards men, in addition to health promotion and campaigns for vaccination more positive results would be seen.
A subgroup approach, identifying spokesmen that men listen to could also go a long way to effect change.
Messages should not blame men for the occurrence, or seek to place the responsibility on them to seek information.
The approach to effecting change among men should not in any way affect what is being done to improve women's health.
Males are disproportionately being affected COVID-19 leading to more deaths and very little has been done to effect change. For any positive change to take place a multi-sectoral approach is required involving the healthcare, multimedia platforms, and other industries. Cultural precepts of masculinity have to be put down and new views are to be developed.