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Goin' to the country: challenges for women's health care in rural Canada

From CMAJ (1998)159: 339 - 41. Reprint requests to: Dr. Mary T. Johnston, Selkirk Medical Clinic, Box 590, Revelstoke BC V0E 2S0; fax 250 837-9444;

..."Of the one-third of Canadians who live in a rural setting, half are women. Rural Canadians produce 40% of the gross national product but receive only 10% of services in health and education. In one Ontario study 30% of the population but only 11% of the physicians were rural..." The author calls for changes to recruitment and supports for rural women physicians, to improve access to women-centred services in rural areas, and ease burdens on rural doctors. She also suggests that rural physicians do more health education and promote self-care through workshops and discussions on sexualtiy, birth control, menopause, nutrition and more.

"The preference of women, for female doctors has implications for future health care, especially in rural and remote communities.... We need to take more seriously the consequences of having too few rural physicians and even fewer female rural physicians - for the patients, the economy and the rural physicians themselves."