Gender is being recognized as an important factor in determining malarial burden. The UNDP paper (attached) and also their closely-related resource (http://www.aidsdatahub.org/checklist-integrating-gender-processes-and-mechani...) formulates integration of gender in the Global Fund funding model. However, others can also a for sensitivity in addressing the family as a unit to avoid disturbing stability. Thoughts and experiences are welcome.
Malaria is not gender blind simply because the mosquito does not discriminate in biting men or women. There are many ways in which gender can influence who gets malaria and how it is treated. An estimated 10,000 maternal deaths each year are associated with malarial anaemia, but this number is likely severely under-estimated. In addition to children and pregnant women being biologically more susceptible to malaria, social, economic and cultural factors play a crucial role in determining differences in women’s and men’s vulnerability to malaria and access to malaria prevention and treatment services. In particular, there is growing evidence that the gender-specific effects of malaria are felt most acutely by poor, rural and marginalized women, indicating that development, gender equality and health outcomes are intrinsically linked. And yet very little work has explored the ways in which the risks and effects of malaria are determined by the intersections of sex, gender roles and poverty. Pregnancy is the sole sex-specific area on which significant research and programmatic effort has focused, but even here the analysis of the social, political and economic drivers of pregnant women’s insufficient access to key prevention and treatment modalities remains weak.
In recognition of this gap in our understanding, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (Global Fund) and Roll Back Malaria has called for greater attention to gender, HIV, malaria and their intersections. Moreover, through the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), governments have committed to several goals related to poverty reduction, gender equality and health, accompanied by specific targets to eradicate malaria, and to have malaria incident data gender-disaggregated (target 3.3), create national pro-poor and gender-sensitive development strategies (target 1.7), and erradicate other non-communicable diseases that contribute to malaria susceptibility (target 3.4). In many ways gender-specific malaria vulnerabilities and effects are both causes and consequences of poverty. As such, a focus on gender-sensitive malaria interventions is a development imperative. The time to act is now.
While the need is acute, the resources are finite. The Global Fund, among other key players, has adopted strategic investment approaches to allocating funds, which place a premium on optimizing impact, cost-effectiveness and sustainability of malaria interventions. This means that programme planners and managers are increasingly being asked to draft ‘investment cases’ or evidencebased documents that outline how allocating resources to certain interventions will lead to concrete, measurable and sustainable results. Since addressing the gender dimensions of malaria is essential to combating the disease, malaria interventions based on gender equality and human rights are essential to achieving successful outcomes. In this way gender-sensitive malaria interventions make economic sense.
This Discussion Paper on gender and malaria is intended to support practitioners, civil society and government partners wishing to make the investment case for increased and improved malaria programming that addresses the specific vulnerabilities and needs of both males and females who are affected by or at risk of malaria. The paper summarizes the existing evidence base, demonstrating the ways in which gender impacts on malaria risks and effects (including those that intersect with HIV), and highlighting existing data and implementation gaps. This information is useful for UNDP in its role in supporting governments to implement and operationalize the development agenda by 2030, by turning commitments into action. The evidence, and particularly the recommendations presented in this paper will also be useful for practitioners preparing concept notes for the Global Fund resources.