UNDP: Strengthening the investment case for improved TB and malaria programming that addresses gender-specific vulnerabilities and needs

In December 2015, UNDP launched three new tools to support increased investment in gender-sensitive Tuberculosis (TB) and malaria interventions. The updated Checklist for Integrating Gender into Processes and Mechanisms of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria includes new information to support the integration of gender-sensitive TB and malaria programming into every stage of the Global Fund Funding Model.  Accompanying the Checklist are two new Discussion Papers on Gender and TB and Gender and Malaria that summarise and analyse the evidence base related to the specific vulnerabilities and needs of both men and women.

Gender analysis and gender-responsive programming are comparatively new to the fields of TB and malaria.   And yet there is an increasingly urgent need to direct efforts and resources to understanding the ways in which the risks and effects of TB and malaria are linked to sex and gender roles. TB is now the leading cause of death for women globally. In sub-Saharan Africa malaria-related haemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal mortality, accounting for 34 percent of maternal deaths. While some of these gender-related risks and vulnerabilities are biological, related to pregnancy or co-infection with HIV status for example, others are determined by social, economic and cultural circumstances, such as gender-specific occupations or access to health services.

The evidence is clear that gender and TB and gender and malaria are areas that require our greater attention and investment if we are to eradicate these diseases. But most importantly, addressing the gender impacts and vulnerability of malaria and TB is a development imperative. It will be critical to governments’ ability to meet the Sustainable Development Goals related to gender equality, poverty reduction and health – including the specific targets to eradicate TB and malaria and other non-communicable diseases. In this way gender-sensitive interventions in TB and malaria responses will result in “triple wins” across the development agenda. The time for action is now!

While the need is acute, the resources are not infinite. The UNDP Discussion Papers on Gender and TB and Gender and Malaria are intended to support practitioners, civil society and government partners to make the investment case for increased and improved TB and malaria programming that addresses the specific vulnerabilities and needs of both men and women. The Discussion Papers summarise the existing evidence base, demonstrating the ways in which gender has an impact on the risks and effects of malaria and TB (including those that intersect with HIV) and highlight existing gaps in data and implementation. The evidence, and particularly the recommendations presented in this paper, will also be useful for practitioners preparing concept notes for Global Fund resources. As such, this paper has been designed to be used in conjunction with UNDP’s 2015 revised Checklist on Integrating Gender into the Processes and Mechanisms of the Global Fund to Fight HIV, TB and Malaria.

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