As per the constitution of the World Health Organization,
“the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the
fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race,
religion, political belief, economic or social
condition”. Furthermore, “the extension to all peoples of the benefits of
medical, psychological and related knowledge is essential to the fullest
attainment of health”.
Public health services are meant for all people regardless
of their gender and economic or social status. However, the world is
increasingly becoming aware of differences in the men as compared with women.
These differences relate to social, economic, cultural and political factors
or situations, and they determine the health status of the two genders. The
above-mentioned differences in the condition of men and women are referred to
as gender perspectives which enable from certain ideologies of people based
on social and cultural expectations rather than on physical equalities; they
refer to learned attitudes and behaviours that
characterize people of one sex or the other (Benokraitis,
Nijole V, New Yersey,
The traditional gender roles and stereotypes are the
result of patriarchal cultures in which men are regarded as superior to
women; this has contributed to gender inequality that also leads to health
inequality between men and women. The world is changing due to globalization.
Therefore, the traditional stereotypes of men and women, especially those
related to their health status should also be expected to change.
There is a general lack of understanding of the gender
perspective with regard to the implementation of basic human rights. In this context, we must consider the poor
health status of women arising from various factors, such as: maternal
mortality; domestic violence; female trafficking; and sexually transmitted
infections. Such poor health status of
women is caused by the lack of decision making power among women with regard
to their economic, educational and social status which is prevalent in
certain sections of the population in Sri Lanka.
The current era of globalization is expected to remove the
traditional disadvantages faced by women through relevant policies and programmes aimed at ensuring health equality and justice
for all people.
Improving the health of women of all ages and to
contribute to the achievement of health equity.
To support MoH:
the development of policies, strategies and interventions that effectively
address high-priority and neglected health issues of under privileged women
throughout the lifespan,
the creation of a body of evidence on the impact of gender on health and
in the development of tools, norms and standards to
improve gender responsiveness of health interventions and promote gender
equity in health.
Enhancement of knowledge of under privileged /
underserved subjects on the importance of health and well-being of women and
of ways in which gender affects different aspects of women's and men's health
through capacity building at central & peripheral level;
Development, testing and dissemination of
tools, guidelines, norms and standards with the aim of strengthening policy
and health-sector response to selected issues mainly GBV;
Collaboration and consultation with other
technical departments, and other partners including UN agencies to ensure
consistency in work on gender and health and specifically on the health of
specific group of women e.g. migrant women workers.
Improved capacity of programme
managers and health care providers
Standards, training modules, information tools
and guidelines on specific women's health issues produced and used to support
MoH in the formulation and implementation programmes and in monitoring progress
Evidence-based reviews and collection of new
data on the impact of gender on health and on specific women's health issues
carried out by MoH in collaboration with WHO, with
information so generated disseminated and applied in advocacy and policy
Tools and guidelines developed and processes
in place to facilitate incorporation of gender considerations in the
technical programmes implementation
New initiatives for the future undertaken
incorporating gender perspectives in all technical programmes,
with results, analyses and lessons learnt documented and disseminated.