“Improving the health of women and girls is a global development priority.” So states the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Three. Yet, in some poor and developing countries, women’s needs to health services are falling behind. So claims a recent paper in the journal of Globalization and Health, published by BioMedCentral.com.
In some developing countries, rates of maternal mortality and HIV remain a problem, even with the many global women’s initiatives sponsored worldwide.
The reasons for this are many. There are socio-economic factors as well as the failure of local health systems. Moreover, the global community has not made a concerted effort to address gender equity as a separate goal.
“For example, the 2015 Lancet Commission on Women and Health called for women’s access to Universal Health Care (UHC), and outlined how gender inequities are undermining the effectiveness and efficiency of healthcare services, but neglected to examine how health systems themselves can perpetuate and exacerbate gender inequities.”
The thinking in the international aid community is to treat all aid as gender-neutral, assuming that such aid will cover all socio-economic and gender types. However, their research indicates that these ‘bricks’ of services fall short of addressing the specific needs faced by women in poor, developing countries such as Cameroon.
“Health system engagement is gender-blind, gender has not been sufficiently integrated into these interventions, and these health systems did not meet the benchmarks of gender equity within each building block or reflect the attributes of a gender-equitable health system.”
“Our review shows that we need action (and indicators) that go beyond the bricks of health systems to address the ‘mortar’: namely how gender roles and relations shape health care access, and impact on individuals’ experiences with the health care system (for example, do women experience respectful care and receive comprehensive access to reproductive health care).”
At CDN, we are committed to improving the lives and health of adolescent girls in Cameroon through menstrual workshops, HIV/AIDS prevention training, Malaria awareness projects, and Information and Communication technology training.
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