Why Gender Mainstreaming and Health Systems Strengthening
International Women’s Day recognizes and recognizes the socioeconomic, political, and cultural achievements of women. It is also a time to recognize and confront the discrimination women confront in all aspects of their lives. The Fred Hollows Foundation is among the most prominent worldwide organizations that promote gender equality in eyesight health. International Women’s Day is particularly important for the Fred Hollows Foundation, which is a leading organization in advocating and promoting awareness of women’s eye health and equality around the world.
The women of the world have 1.3 three times more likely be blind than males, meaning that 55% of the people who suffer from vision impairment worldwide are female. At present, there are 23.9 million girls or women worldwide blind, and 163 million with vision impairment.
China has the highest level of preventable blindness in the world with 20% of the world total. Eye health of girls and women in rural areas of minority is becoming more and more important. Take The Foundation’s work for Guangxi as an instance. Women are more at risk of developing blindness that is preventable in rural Guangxi, where there are approximately 527,000 eye-related patients, with a majority of 55 percent being girls and women.
Women living in rural areas typically are not aware of or have access to information regarding eye health. Additionally, women find it difficult to obtain services as men do. Women’s poverty, social standing, and patriarchy are the major reasons behind the insufficient use of eye health services for women. Women are typically assumed to be the primary caregivers for their families, meaning that they have to prioritize household chores and family members wellbeing above their personal needs. It is also more difficult for women living in rural areas to travel due to obligations to their families or reasons of culture.
It is vital to realize the fact that gender-based inequities regarding access to eye health care are widespread. In the first place, we must tackle the structural causes that create gender inequities and challenge the historical and institutional practices that discriminate against women. We must find long-term solutions, and implement gender-sensitive practices and programming that create lasting change not just for women’s access and participation in eye health but also for the workforce in eye health and their partners too. This is the reason why The Fred Hollows Foundation adopts a gender mainstreaming strategy that puts women and girls in the forefront of our program as well as services, partnerships and the work of global advocacy.
Since 1998, the Fred Hollows Foundation in China has been working to increase women’s access to eye health services in order to reduce the gap between men and women. The Foundation’s programs have helped over 5 million individuals through helping to provide screening services, interventions to save sight as well as medical training. Since its inception, over 100 eye health centers have been constructed.
In the year 2018, The Fred Hollows Foundation launched its first Gender Focused Comprehensive Eye Care Model Project in Guangxi Province. Working with other partners, the Foundation’s initiative in Guangxi has had great success in bringing awareness to gender equality and has been acknowledged by provincial and county partners and also Guangxi’s Provincial Women’s Federation.
To build upon this achievement with Guangxi, The Foundation is in the process of launching a brand fresh Gender Equity & Inclusion Eye Health Project in five provinces of west and central China and will partner with National and Provincial Women’s Federation in the provinces of choice. This project is designed to increase gender equity and participation in the field of eye health through raising awareness about the health of eyes of girls and women, and the accessibility and availability to eye health services through using The World Health Organization’s strengthening of the health system strategy.
Strengthening the health system is the primary focus of the Foundation’s mission. Our belief is that the issue of eye health should be included in national strategic health plans as well as the development policies, health finance structures, as well as healthcare workforce plans. The Foundation is committed to ensuring that both national and local partners are involved in implementing changes to strengthen their healthcare system. In order to achieve this, we develop the capacity of local health workers and involve local government departments, and assist partner hospitals to incorporate gender equality and integration into the management of eye health services and.