NEW YORK, Sept. 29 (IPS) – Gender-responsive public health coverage (UHC) has proven potential to change the health and lives of billions of people, especially girls and women, in all their intersecting identities. Early tomorrow at the UN High Level 2023 Meeting (HLM) at the UHC, member countries and stakeholders will review progress on HLM commitments in 2019 and set a roadmap for achieving the UHC by 2030. We, as co-convenors of the Gender Equality and UHC Alliance, call on member states to protect gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) as part of the implementation of the UHC, especially in light of the gender impact of the Kovid-1 pandemic epidemic.
To move forward, it is important to remember our past commitments. In 2019, member states adopted a political declaration with a firm commitment to ensure universal access to the SRHR, including family planning; A gender perspective mainstream in the health system; And increase meaningful representation, participation and empowerment of all women in health care. Furthermore, 58 countries submitted a joint statement arguing that investing in SRHR is cost-effective, cost-effective and integral to UHC. These commitments set out a clear path to gender equality and the results of the advocacy and hard work of civil society organizations, including members of the UHC coalition, and the steps needed to make gender-responsive UHC a reality.
However, following the 2019 HLM, the deadly and devastating Covid-1 pandemic epidemic has changed dramatically how people around the world can access essential health services. Basic human rights, including the UHC, SRHR, and hard-won gains for gender equality, are now at risk as health and social services are stressed and political attention shifted. The chronic epidemic illustrates how gender-responsive UHCs are more important than ever.
We call on member states to renew their commitment in 2019 and ensure that health commitments for all are possible only through gender-responsive UHCs.
To provide truly gender-responsive UHC, we recommend the following five:
1. Design policies and programs for SRHR and girls and women – in all their diversity – with an intersecting lens at the center of URHC design and implementation. To be effective, the UHC must recognize and respond to the needs of women in all their intersecting identities, including race, ethnicity, age, qualifications, immigrant status, gender identity, sexual orientation, class and caste. . Affects risk and health outcomes. What’s more, Covid-1 has further intensified discrimination for marginalized populations, and now requires more attention than ever before to provide UHCs for the most marginalized.
2. Ensure that UHC includes comprehensive SRH services, and provides access to SRH services for all individuals throughout life. These services must be free from stigma, discrimination, coercion and violence and must be integrated, high quality, affordable, accessible and acceptable. The World Health Organization (WHO) intervenes in the UHC compendium and provides guidance in supporting documents on what it might look like. The epidemic has caused multiple disruptions to SRHR care. For example, an estimated 12 million women may be unable to access family planning services due to epidemics. The Covid-1 response response and recovery and the implementation of the UHC will certainly address these issues.
3. Prioritize, collect, and use segregated data, especially gender-segregated data. UHC policies and plans can only be gender-responsive when informed by data divided by gender and other social characteristics. In the current epidemic, not all countries are reporting inconsistent data on infections and deaths from Kovid-1 to the WHO, and most countries have not implemented gender policy responses. As of June 2021, only 50% of Covid-1 infections and / or deaths in the previous month reported gender-biased data.D The number of countries reporting sex-divided statistics also declined during the epidemic. Without this information, decision-makers are unable to formulate policies based on evidence to ensure how they address the health needs of all genders একটি an important lesson for the UHC.
4. Increasing gender equality among health and care workers and catalyzing women’s leadership. Women0% of health workers worldwide and strong drivers of healthcare ignore this fact and the attitude towards health and care workers in epidemics has not often applied the gender lens. Gender inequality among health workers was present long before the epidemic, with most female health workers in low-status, low-paying roles and in the sector, often in unsafe conditions and regularly harassed. Moreover, although women have played an important role in epidemic response থেকে from vaccine design to healthcare delivery তারা they have been marginalized in leadership in epidemic decision-making from parliamentary to community level. In fact, the COVID5% National Covid-1 task force has a majority of male members. Urgent investment in safe, decent and equal work for women health workers, as well as an equal base for women in leadership and decision-making roles, must be central to UHC delivery.
5. Commitments to advance SRHR, gender equality and civil society participation in URHC design and implementation with the necessary funding and accountability. Now is the time to invest in the health and care economy, especially in the UHC. Governments everywhere are facing financial constraints from the epidemic. The UHC is an important part of investing and building in resilient health and social systems to avoid catastrophic costs for future epidemics and global health emergencies. The UHC must be deliberately designed, with appropriate accountability mechanisms, to reduce inequality between and between countries – and in particular gender inequality, which undermines social and economic rights and resilience.
With our Civil Society Partners in Gender Equality and the UHC Alliance, the UHC is ready to work hand in hand with the Government, the United Nations and all stakeholders to implement these recommendations on the road to 2023 HLM. At this time of the Covid-1 pandemic epidemic, there is no time to waste on implementing health commitments for all and this can only be achieved through gender-responsive UHCs that focus on gender equality and SRHR.
The authors are Ann Killing of Global Health in Women, Divya Mathew of Women Delivery, Deepa Venkatachalam of Sama Resource Group for Women and Health and Spectra Rwanda Chantal Umuhoja. These four organizations are co-convenors of the Alliance for Gender Equality and Universal Health Coverage.
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