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. We do this in improvement activities across health areas and beyond, including non-communicable diseases (NCDs) programming, HIV and ART services, OVC services, and more. 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.

To learn more about gender and how to integrate gender in improvement work, download A Guide to Integrating Gender in Improvement.

Bringing Women on Board in Safe Male Circumcision in Uganda

Jude Thaddeus Ssensamba

Quality Improvement Officer, Uganda, USAID ASSIST Project/URC

As part of our discussion with facility health workers during a technical support visit to eastern Uganda Nankoma Health Centre IV, Bugiri District, I asked for some experiences on cases where women have not been involved in Safe Male Circumcision. One of the health workers in the group had this experience to share:

Meeting the Different Needs of Boys and Girls in Services for Vulnerable Children

This technical brief describes the different needs of boys and girls requiring Vulnerable Children services. It describes key gender issues five priority service areas: access to education, health and nutrition, psychosocial support,...

Addressing the Needs of Men, Women, Boys and Girls in HIV and ART Services

This 4-page flyer is designed to provide a quick reference for improvement specialists, clinicians, health workers and implementing partners working in HIV and ART services. It highlights three key gender issues: lower utilization and...

PMTCT: Addressing the Needs of Women and Their Partners to Improve Services

This 4-page flyer is designed to provide a quick reference for improvement specialists, clinicians, health workers and implementing partners working in PMTCT services. It presents the key gender issues for consideration in PMTCT services...

Integrating Gender in Improvement: Approach of the USAID ASSIST Project

Addressing the different needs, behaviors, preferences, access to, and utilization of health services for men, women, girls and boys is critical to any quality improvement effort. Implementation of improvement interventions without...

Viewing Healthcare Locally Through a “Gender Lens”

Caitlyn Lutfy

WI-HER LLC
URC Uganda staff in the gender integration training

URC Uganda staff in the gender integration training, Taroub Faramand April 2013

“You’re breaking a ‘gender rule’ right now by eating chicken,” said one of the male participants during the lunch break at our Gender Integration training in the URC Uganda office. In a murmur of laughter and banter, the Ugandan staff members explained that for some, it is taboo for a Ugandan woman to eat chicken. For the most part, Ugandans no longer practice the rule, though some say older relatives and a few tribes still observe the gender-related chicken restriction.

The roles, expectations, behaviors and interactions between men, women, boys and girls are intimately tied to local people and change with time. “Gender” is a social construct shaped by these customs and perceptions. In the previously mentioned example, the male-exclusive entitlement to eat chicken as a sign of reverence interacts with other customs to shape sex disparities of power and capabilities in the society. If  the women at our training abided by this restriction, our catering would have been gender-blind and, in effect, we would have only been serving lunch to men. Women, men, boys and girls also differ in their healthcare needs and the ways they access, utilize and benefit from care.

Integrating Gender in Improvement Activities Implementation Guide

Gender-related roles, needs, behaviors and autonomy both influence and are impacted by the health care improvements. Without considering gender, potentially half of the population is neglected in a health improvement effort. The ways men...

Gender Integration Checklist

This checklist is a quick and simple guide for development practitioners to conceptualize how gender considerations should be addressed and integrated into a project in the planning, implementation and reporting phases of a project through...

Spread collaborative: Prevention of unwanted pregnancies, abortion and sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers in Kostroma, Tambov, Ivanovo and Tula regions, Russia

Date improvement activities began: October, 2010 Date of end of collaborative: November, 2011 Aims/objectives: To encourage reduction of abortion through increasing access to information on reproductive health and modern contraceptive...

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