Gender

Women, men, boys, and girls should have equal opportunities to be healthy and to reach their full potential. Yet differing health-related needs and different social, economic, and cultural barriers to accessing care thwart the ability of certain groups to access and benefit from health care services. Gender is a social determinant of health across all countries and cultures. Gender gaps and issues affect access to, utilization of, and quality of care for women, men, boys, and girls. To truly improve the quality of all care for all, these gender gaps and issues must be explicitly recognized and addressed by providers, facilities, and health systems, and this is especially true in quality improvement activities. In this video, watch Dr. Taroub Harb Faramand of WI-HER, LLC explain how addressing gender considerations in improvement work leads to better outcomes.

Community Quality Improvement Team in Buikwe, Uganda

We take an improvement approach to integrate gender through the USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) project. By collecting and analyzing sex-disaggregated data and systematically identifying and analyzing gaps in outcomes among women, men, boys and girls, we evaluate what is causing poorer outcomes among one group, and design activities to respond to the needs of males or females to close the gap between men and women. We do this through our non-communicable diseases (NCDs) programming, our HIV and ART services, and our OVC services. We promote partner involvement in programs targeting either males or females, such as engaging male partners and fathers in ANC visits and PMTCT programs to improve outcomes for mothers and babies, and engaging female partners of males who undergo the VMMC procedure to improve follow-up and decrease adverse events. 

Our innovative and effective six-step approach to identify and close gender-related gaps improves health outcomes for all, and we utilize locally-owned, culturally-sensitive, and innovative models. We recognize that myriad factors at multiple levels of society affect gender norms that influence risk factors, access to care, utilization of care, and equality of treatment and we work to respond to these norms in concert to generate shifts in thinking and behavior. We address gender gaps and issues at the individual, household, and community levels, when necessary, though staff and community sensitization trainings, and we consider the varied contextual factors that drive outcomes for women, men, boys, and girls in the design, implementation, and evaluation of our programs.

Gender Analysis Tools

These Gender Analysis Tools are a series of three worksheets to help you conduct a gender analysis or review what you know about gender issues in your work. The first helps you to identify key gender relations and power disparities, the second helps you to synthesize what you have identified and how it will affect your activities, and the third helps you to plan how to use what you have learned from the gender analysis.

Strengthening integrated family planning/maternal and neonatal health postpartum services and associated health system functions in Niger

Family planning (FP) is known to be one of the highest impact interventions for reducing maternal and child mortality, yet in Niger, there is a high unmet demand for family planning services. With support from the Ministry of Public Health and the USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project, improvement teams in two hospitals and 14 health centers in Niger incorporated client-centered family planning services in their routine postpartum care, with an eye towards improving client choice and adherence to the selected FP method.

Gender integration in quality improvement: Increasing access to health services for women in rural Mali

Anemia is one of the leading contributors to infant and maternal mortality and morbidity in Mali. The causes of anemia are many and complex, but are influenced by social norms and cultural beliefs as well as lack of access to health and social services. It is in this context that USAID, through the USAID ASSIST Project in Mali, is supporting sites and communities in the Bougouni Health District in the Sikasso Region to reduce the incidence of anemia among pregnant women and children under five years old.

Intégration du Genre dans l’Amélioration de la Qualité : Augmenter l’accès aux services de santé pour les femmes en milieu rural au Mali

Au Mali, l’anémie contribue très fortement à la mortalité et à la morbidité infanto-juvénile. Les causes d’anémie sont multiples et souvent complexes, mais ces deux causes immédiates de l’anémie sont influencées par certains facteurs comme ceux socioculturels liés aux croyances culturelles et coutumes et à l’accès limité aux services de santé et sociaux. C’est dans ce contexte que l’USAID à travers le projet ASSIST Mali s’est inséré dans la priorité du Gouvernement pour contribuer à la réduction du taux d’anémie chez les femmes enceintes et les enfants de moins de cinq ans.

Integrating Gender and Gender-based Violence in Medical and Nursing Curricula in Nicaraguan Universities

In Nicaragua, the USAID ASSIST Project supports the application of continuous quality improvement to integrate HIV prevention and treatment topics in the medical and nursing training programs in nine universities. Baseline data clearly revealed strong sentiments of discrimination and stigma towards people living with HIV (PLHIV) and sexual diversity among both students and faculty.

Understanding what ‘integrated people-centered health services’ means

Julia Holtemeyer

Improvement Specialist for Gender and Knowledge Management, USAID ASSIST Project/WI-HER, LLC

Earlier this year, at the Sixty-ninth World Health Assembly, WHO Member States officially adopted the Framework on integrated people-centred health services (IPCHS). Designed to support increasing timely access to essential health services, the Framework proposes the following five critical shifts in health care systems to make them more people-centered:

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