sustaining gender transformation

Sustaining Gender Transformation in the Ethiopian Primary Health Care System

Written by: Shailee Ghelani

The USAID Transform: Primary Health Care Activity provides technical assistance to the Government of Ethiopia to support implementation of the Health Sector Transformation Plan, with the ultimate goal of preventing maternal and child deaths and contributing to a healthy, productive, and prosperous Ethiopia. The Activity operates within the five regions in Ethiopia: Amhara, Oromia, Sidama, Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR), and Tigray. 

The Activity recognizes gender as a key determinant of health and has made it a cross-cutting priority over the duration of the program. As the gender-partner, EnCompass applied an interconnected, mutually reinforcing, gender-transformative, and evidence-based gender integration approach to identify and respond to equity gaps. The Activity conducted a gender analysis and developed a collaborative gender strategy in its first year, allowing it to implement targeted and gender-responsive activities and research and integrate gender-sensitive and transformative approaches across the Activity’s four result areas. The Activity, as it approached its sixth and final year of implementation, conducted a gender assessment to identify the successes and challenges in addressing and responding to the gender gaps and opportunities identified in the gender analysis. The assessment found that the Activity conducted several impactful interventions, including holistic support to the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH); training and capacity strengthening for gender integration in the Primary Health Care System; improving gender-based violence (GBV) prevention and response services; and promoting men’s engagement in reproductive and maternal health.  

The assessment also identified interventions that are particularly successful and have the potential for sustainability. The Activity’s efforts to improve the provision of post-GBV services and to apply a mentorship approach to increase the number of health facilities and offices conducting gender analysis, were particularly successful. Further, as part of the ongoing support to the FMOH, the Activity also successfully contributed to the creation of daycare centers at the FMOH and three Regional Health Bureaus to better support female health care workers who are balancing their careers with newborn care responsibilities. 

As the Activity concludes in July 2022, we aim to ensure that this momentum around progress and gender transformative primary health care continues through replicating and scaling these successes. To this end, EnCompass has developed a series of technical briefs to share our strategies, approaches, successes, and lessons learned: 

  1. Increasing Accessibility of Post-Gender-Based Violence Services through Primary Health Care in Ethiopia: Technical Brief 
  2. Operationalizing Gender Analysis and Action Planning Across Ethiopia’s Primary Health Care System: A Process Guide and Lessons Learned from The USAID Transform: Primary Health Care Activity 
  3. Expanding Access to Daycare Centers for Women in the Health Workforce in Ethiopia: Lessons Learned from the USAID Transform: Primary Health Care Activity 

Keep an eye out as we publish these briefs over the next three weeks! In the meantime, refer to the USAID Transform: Primary Health Care Gender Assessment report for a comprehensive look at how EnCompass applied its signature gender integration approach throughout this Activity. 

Want to learn more about our work on Gender and Inclusive Development? Visit our website 

Shailee Ghelani

Gender & Inclusive Development Specialist II

Shailee Ghelani works across EnCompass' Transform: Primary Health Care, Benin Private Sector Health Activity, and Lesotho Karabo ea Bhopelo projects within the organization's gender portfolio. She provides project management, financial, technical, and operational support in her current role. She previously served as a Budget Coordinator with EnCompass, primarily supporting cost proposal development. She also has experience in data management, qualitative and quantitative research and writing, and communications. Prior to joining EnCompass, she supported business development and diversification efforts at an economic development nonprofit organization. Ms. Ghelani also has worked in membership, outreach, and database management at three other international nonprofits. Ms. Ghelani holds a BA in International Studies from American University's School of International Service.

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