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.

Male partners play a critical role in improving retention of the mother-baby pairs in care in Ivukula, Uganda

Joyce Draru

Quality Improvement Officer, Uganda, USAID ASSIST Project/URC

Retaining HIV positive mothers and their babies in care is a key component of the Partnership for HIV – Free survival initiative. Retention contributes to the success in reduction in the number of new HIV infections among HIV exposed babies as well as keeping their mothers alive. Supporting PHFS facilities in Uganda, sites have introduced changes such as offering eMTCT services to the mother-baby pairs at one service point and keeping the pair’s care cards together.

ASSIST Project Gender Email Updates

The ASSIST Project disseminates quarterly email updates highlighting recent resources, blogs, events and eLearning opportunities. See below for PDF versions of all our Gender ASSIST email updates, or simply sign up for the listserv to...

Aborder les questions de Genre dans les Services de Planification Familiale du Post-partum

Les valeurs et traditions liées au genre affectent la capacité des femmes et de leurs partenaires à accéder et à utiliser des services de planification familiale de qualité. Ce dossier technique examine les questions de genre dans les...

Addressing Gender Issues in Postpartum Family Planning Services

Gender-related values and traditions affect the ability of women and their partners to access and utilize quality family planning services. This technical brief discusses the gender-related factors that influence PPFP uptake and how they...

Improving access to and utilization of postpartum family planning: Why gender matters

Megan Ivankovich

Senior Program Officer, WI-HER, LLC
Dr. Faramand, WI-HER Founder and President, examines a newborn at a rural health center in Tanzania

Last month, I had the privilege to travel to a rural health center in Tanzania to observe the great work of the USAID ASSIST Project. While waiting for members of the clinic’s quality improvement team to attend to patients before starting the gender integration training, we had time to explore the clinic and talk with patients.

Gender M&E eLearning Course

MEASURE Evaluation has announced a new Gender M&E eLearning Course , a two-hour course hosted by the Global Health eLearning Center , which is now available to the public. It is designed to assist development practitioners working on...

USAID ASSIST Gender Integration in Improvement Activities Presentation at USAID

Dr. Faramand discusses the USAID ASSIST Project's approach to integrate gender

Dr. Faramand presents about gender integration in improvement activities at the PEPFAR Gender Working Group meeting on July 2nd, 2014

On July 2nd, USAID ASSIST Senior Gender Technical Advisor, Dr. Taroub Harb Faramand, President of WI-HER LLC (Women Influencing Health, Education and Rule of Law), led a presentation on gender integration through the USAID ASSIST Project at USAID's PEPFAR Gender Working Group.  This presentation described how the USAID ASSIST Project integrates gender by incorporating modern improvement techniques to identify and overcome gender-related issues and barriers to achieve better outcomes for women, men, boys and girls.  The presentation focused specifically on gender integration activities in the voluntary medical male circumcision, ART, and PMTCT programming.  The presentation described gender integration planning methods, the use of sex-disaggregated data for improvement, and highlighted stories from the field. The presentation, which is attached below, also shared relevant tools developed for the USAID ASSIST Project which have aided the project to integrate gender and track progress. A 30-minute discussion followed the presentation.

The value of virtual forums: Promoting Kangaroo Mother Care in Latin America

Ivonne Gómez Pasquier

Chief of Party, Nicaragua, USAID ASSIST/URC

In June, the USAID ASSIST-supported Salud Materno Infantil (Maternal and Infant Health) Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) Community of Practice hosted its second virtual discussion forum in Spanish on "Experiences in startup and early consolidation of Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) activities in hospitals in Latin America: favorable aspects, constraints and lessons learned.” As a pediatrician and director of the USAID ASSIST Project in Nicaragua, I was honored to moderate the forum.

Integrating Gender in Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision Programs to Improve Outcomes

Voluntary medical male circumcision(VMMC) is proven to reduce the risk of sexual transmission of HIV from women to men by 60%, and it is estimated that 80% coverage could reduce HIV incidence in Uganda by 30-50% (UNAIDS, 2011). VMMC is...

MCHIP Project close-out event: Lessons learned and the way forward

Elizabeth Romanoff Silva


Last Thursday, June 26th marked the end of USAID’s flagship Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP) with the conference, “Critical Concepts for Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths.” The event in Washington DC highlighted program learning and recommendations on scale up, quality, and community from the six-year USAID project. The event was attended by more than 400 development practitioners from many countries, including 23 health ministers from USAID-supported countries. Highlights from the conference included an overview of MCHIP’s achievements and lasting impact by Project Director Koki Agarwal and a panel discussion between five African Health Ministers about acting on preventable child and maternal deaths.