Introducing a Tool to Measure Gender-Sensitivity of Health Facilities in Afghanistan
Laili Irani, Population Reference Bureau (PRB)
Rahila Juya, Futures Group
Hamrah Khan, Ministry of Public Health, Afghanistan
Kathleen Sear, Futures Group
Omarzaman Sayedi, Futures Group
In Afghanistan, gender-related barriers hinder equitable access to and use of the healthcare system. A tool was developed to measure a facility’s gender sensitivity using well-established quality of care standards, while considering the Afghan context. This tool was pilot tested in 21 facilities across four provinces from September 2013–January 2014. There is a lack of complaint boxes or other mechanisms in facilities. Privacy during the hospital visit is a concern in most facilities. The absence of separate waiting rooms and lines for men and women is a challenge within the Afghan context. Remote regions have a particularly grave shortage of female providers. The findings suggest the need to improve the equitability of services, such as provide more female healthcare providers, gender-sensitize providers, ensure privacy of patients and work with communities to increase utilization of services. The tool is being integrated into the Ministry of Public Health’s routine monitoring systems.