2020•09•14 Kuala Lumpur
The Malaysia-based United Nations University International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH) has been awarded a grant of USD 2.25 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the establishment of a Gender and Health Policy Hub. The aim of the hub will be to generate evidence and accelerate action for gender equality in global health policy and programming.
Dr David Malone, UNU Rector and UN Under-Secretary-General, welcomed this partnership, stating that “the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s support to UNU and its mandate, as an expert research body engaging with policymakers and academia, offers tremendous potential for UNU and the United Nations to accelerate evidence-based action supporting gender equality globally”.
Professor Pascale Allotey, Director of UNU-IIGH, added that “the funding from the Gates Foundation provides a critical opportunity to influence how health investments are made to support the achievement of gender equality”.
Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages) is inextricably linked to Sustainable Development Goal 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls), as is any progress towards universal health coverage. Despite twenty-five years of high-level commitments by the United Nations and its Member States to integrate gender in health policies and programmes, gender inequality continues to undermine health outcomes. The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reflection of the gendered impacts that containment measures and overloaded health systems have on women’s and girls’ care burden, exposure to violence, and access to essential health services.
Although health systems and programmes can and should do more to promote gender-equitable norms and policies, the effort is hampered by a lack of evidence, systematic documentation, and learning on what works to effectively integrate gender in health. Without such evidence – and a real commitment to systemic change — gender integration will remain a tokenistic add-on, health investments will not be optimised, and policies and programmes will fail to redress gender inequities.
The new Gender and Health Policy Hub, which is expected to launch in October 2020, will provide a platform for collaboration, practice-based learning, and co-production of critical analyses and evidence. It will help to broker new partnerships and alliances to extend the sources of evidence and support dissemination and policy translation.
The idea for the Hub was conceived during the “What Works in Gender and Health” meeting that was co-convened by the World Health Organization and UNU-IIGH in Kuala Lumpur in April 2019.
For more, see the 10 September news story on the UNU-IIGH website.