Leaving no one behind: the role of gender analysis in strengthening health systems

News article 13 Dec 2017

Researchers at LSTM have been involved in the publication of a new supplement looking at the role of gender analyses in strengthening health systems.

The papers, which have been brought together as a supplement in the journal Health Policy and Planning, examine gender across a range of health policy and systems contexts and show how gender intersects with the other axes of inequity. Gender shapes experiences of health and health seeking within households, communities and health systems, making it imperative that there is a change in researcher mindset and more investment in capacity of development interventions in this field.

LSTM’s Professor Sally Theobald has been involved in some of the papers and is an author on the editorial that accompanies them. She said: “Evidence shows that health systems policy does not always pay adequate attention to gender and the resulting inequities can shape health experiences across a range of issues throughout a lifetime, impacting on the ability of the health system itself to respond. This supplement brings a gender lens to bear on health system research and as health researchers we need to do more, and take seriously a responsibility to promote the incorporation of gender analysis into our studies.”

The papers cover a range of health issues from access to services, governance, health financing, and human resources for health. They feature research carried out across Africa and beyond and show that health systems policy development does not always pay adequate attention to gender and Professor Theobald and her colleagues are calling for that to change. “Change requires an ‘all hands-on deck approach’.” Continued Professor Theobald. “We cannot claim to take a people centred approach to health systems if the status quo continues.”

The supplement has been spearheaded by Research in Gender and Ethics: Building Stronger Health Systems (RinGs), which is funded by the UK Department for International Development and is a partnership which brings together four research networks encompassing 23 institutions across 26 countries. 

Health Policy and Planning, Volume 32, Issue suppl_5, 1 December 2017, Leaving no one behind: the role of gender analysis in strengthening health systems https://doi.org/10.1093/heapol/czx163