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Programme to mainstream gender issues in health launched

ISLAMABAD: The World Health Organisation and the Ministry of Health jointly launched a programme aimed at mainstreaming gender issues in health system during the next biennium involving all stakeholders through the National Stakeholders Dialogue on Gender and Health Programme here on Saturday.

Ms Masooma Butt, gender focal person WHO, was the moderator of the event, emphasizing the significance of gender mainstreaming said gender was an important social factor with profound effects on health outcomes and should be considered in public health work.

She also shared the objectives of the national stakeholder dialogue.

The objectives of the event, she said, was to sensitise participants on integration of gender issues in health systems, policies and programmes, to build a logical consensus on priority areas under gender and health programme, and to develop a road map including joint action plan for implementation of gender and health programme.

Dr Sabeen Afzal, Assistant Director General MER-MoH & National Project Coordinator in her presentation Gender and Health on Gender and Health nexus: National Health Policies and Priorities said that gender mainstreaming is a process of consistently incorporating a sensitivity of gender differences in policy, planning, budgeting, and implementation of programmes and projects in order to overcome inequalities between men and women, boys and girls.

Gender mainstreaming in health has the potential to transform existing policies and health delivery services to ensure that no one is denied their fundamental right to health on account of gender, he added.

“The need of the hour is to define, interpret and apply gender in a purely Pakistani context. Only then we would be able to reduce the disparities and losses in vital areas of national development named as education, economy and health”, she said.

Dr Qazi Mujtaba Kamal, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Health, assured the support of his ministry at all levels, terming the mainstreaming of gender issues in health a very important aspect.

Ms Rehana Hashmi, focal person, Ministry of Women Development in her presentation shared with the participants government’s priority agenda for women, which includes draft domestic violence against women and children (Prevention and Protection) Bill, 2009 which is being finalised.

She also briefed the participants on gender reform action plan, stating that the aim was to promote women’s access to the economical, political and social empowerment, at the national, provincial and district levels.

After a day-long discussion, the participants agreed for conducting need assessment, capacity assessment, mapping of existing interventions and researches to identify gaps for preparing action plan, implementation on action plan, and regular monitoring of the programme.
Source: Dawn