Gender mainstreaming in health: the possibilities and constraints of involving district-level field workers.
The involvement of district-level workers in local-level practical approaches to mainstreaming gender is central to facilitating change and informing health strategies. There are very few practical examples of mainstreaming gender in health, especially at the lower levels of the health sector. One approach is to build the capacity of staff to conduct and respond to gender analysis. On its own, gender training is insufficient to build this capacity. The lack of gender sensitive information on specific health problems and health care delivery in particular contexts is also an obstacle. A critical question is raised: if the process of gender mainstreaming in health is to be a common responsibility rather than that of 'gender experts', what kind of training can feasibly be provided to health workers to enable them to facilitate change? The Malaria Knowledge Programme has been looking at gender aspects of health care for malaria. In 2000 it led a project in the Volta Region of Ghana. District Health Management Teams and district-level field workers from other sectors, such as community development and cooperatives, received training to conduct qualitative and participatory research on the gender aspects of access to health care for malaria. The results of the research have informed strategies to improve gender equity in health at the community level.
Tolhurst, R. Gender mainstreaming in health: the possibilities and constraints of involving district-level field workers. (2005)