Gender Issues Influencing Zika Response in Dominica
To better the understand the real-time situation of Zika-related health services for women, men, couples,and families, project stakeholders commissioned this gender analysis to look at existing services, challenges, and opportunities. The analysis, conducted in two ASSIST-supported parishes in Dominica, includes information gathered from patients and healthcare providers in four health facilities. A total of 52 persons shared their experiences and perceptions related to Zika knowledge and awareness, family economics and decision-making, well-baby care and long-term caretaking, and the impacts of disability on families. Key findings include:
- Focus group participants demonstrated high awareness of Zika transmission by mosquitos but little awareness/knowledge about sexual transmission;
- Caring for children with disabilities can create additional stressors for families, particularly financially, and services for persons with disabilities are limited;
- Male and female focus group participants reported that men generally avoid engaging with the health system unless they are gravely injured or ill, and it is rare for men to participate in antenatal care or well-baby care appointments with their partners;
- However most men are present at the birth of their child, which provides a key opportunity to educate men on how they can participate in their child’s development;
- Women are increasingly participating in the labor force at almost equal rates as men (particularly during the reproductive age period), and yet they are still responsible for the majority of domestic work and childcare tasking them with a double burden.