Nomadic Health Virtual Learning Series: Gender and health systems for nomadic and semi-nomadic communities

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Save the Children

The Nomadic Health Virtual Learning Series is designed to build an online community of practice by bringing together stakeholders to share research findings, implementation strategies and information to provide space for stakeholders to share their experiences working with nomadic and semi-nomadic populations. The series is hosted by Save the Children in partnership with the Frontier Counties Development Council as part of the Nomadic Health Project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which aims to increase access to quality health services, including family planning, for nomadic and semi-nomadic populations in Kenya and to share lessons on effective, scalable approaches across sub-Saharan Africa.

This page focuses on one topic of the learning series -gender and health systems for nomadic and semi-nomadic communities. In this session Save the Children has conducted a series of three interviews to explore how gender plays out within the community health workforce, how we can be thinking about gender and health systems more holistically, and how we can address gender barriers that exist and impact health systems within nomadic and semi-nomadic communities.

A total of three interviews were conducted. You may watch each interview in full by clicking on the links in order, or you can simply watch clips of the questions that interest you most.

Interview 1: Dr. Kui Muraya, KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme

Interview 3: Pauline Njoroge, Health Project Officer, the Nomadic Health Project, Save the Children

Resources for further reading:

  1. How do gender relations affect the working lives of close to community health service providers? Empirical research, a review and conceptual framework: Close-to-community (CTC) providers have been identified as a key cadre to progress universal health coverage and address inequities in health service provision due to their embedded position within communities. CTC providers both work within, and are subject to, the gender norms at community level but may also have the potential to alter them. This paper synthesises current evidence on gender and CTC providers and the services they deliver.
  1. Promoting Gender Responsive Policies and Programmes for Community Health Workers: A gender analysis framework: The majority of the recommendations that feature in the WHO Guideline on Health Policy and System Support to Optimize Community Health Worker Programmes are made acknowledging the ‘weak evidence’ base, indicating that few examples of what gender equitable CHW programming looks like exists in practice. This tool was developed based on current evidence and in consultation with key stakeholders in this area. It was designed to help practitioners add to the evidence base on gender equitable CHW programming, while ensuring that the implementation of the guidelines is gender-sensitive. In the absence of robust evidence-based recommendations, we ask CHW policy makers and programme implementers to take appropriate actions to ensure that all CHW programming is gender-equitable. Gender equitable programming leads to an empowering and supportive work environment, helping CHWs to fulfil their role as agents of social change.
  1. Redressing the gender imbalance: a qualitative analysis of recruitment and retention in Mozambique’s community health workforce: Mozambique’s community health programme has a disproportionate number of male community health workers (known as Agentes Polivalentes Elementares (APEs)). The Government of Mozambique is aiming to increase the proportion of females to constitute 60% to improve maternal and child health outcomes. To understand the imbalance, this study explored the current recruitment processes for APEs and how these are shaped by gender norms, roles and relations, as well as how they influence the experience and retention of APEs in Maputo Province, Mozambique.
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