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Gender and women's health

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This analytical profile on gender and women’s health is structured as follows:


Analytical summary

Understanding of linkages between gender equity and the goals of the health sector is essential. Gender mainstreaming is therefore being strengthened in the design and implementation of all health programmes. In order to address basic human rights which deal with poverty and gender, the Ministry if Health has been striving to tackle the social determinants of health through:

  • fair financing and social protection,
  • health equity in all policies,
  • engendering health programmes,
  • promotion of universal health care, including maternal, newborn and early child development,
  • alleviating the human resources crisis,
  • infrastructure development,
  • promotion of healthy places.

Some health policies on Reproductive Health, Food and Nutrition, and Child Health have incorporated gender mainstreaming issues. Gender Focal Point Persons were also appointed at all provincial and district levels and provided with short-term training in gender mainstreaming in 2006.

However, the Gender Focal Point Persons at all levels have not been fully functional. The structures within which they are supposed to operate in are not well developed and defined, while there are no gender mainstreaming guidelines in place. In addition, there is inadequate capacity to mainstream gender into programmes and activities . Further, although the HMIS system has been designed to collect gender disaggregated data, the data at provincial and national level is still not disaggregated by sex.

Zambia has made commitments towards promoting gender equality towards MDG 4 and SADC targets on gender mainstreaming. With regard to education, the Gender Parity Index (GPI) for primary education improved from 0.90 in 1990 to 1.01 in 2009.

However, for secondary level education, it decreased from 0.92 in 1990 to 0.87 in 2009, and for the 15-24 years old it stagnated at 0.8 from 2003 to 2005. On women’s representation in parliament, despite the increase from 3.8% in 1991 to 14% in 2009, the country scored low against the target of 30%. There is still a lot of scope for enhancing gender mainstreaming in health.

The girl child

Adolescent girls

Adult women: the reproductive years

Adult women

Older women

State of surveillance

Endnotes: Sources, methods, abbreviations, etc.