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Gender exploitative and gender transformative aspects of employing Health Extension Workers under Ethiopia's Health Extension Program

journal contribution
posted on 2019-01-01, 00:00 authored by Ruth JacksonRuth Jackson, Di Kilsby, Assefa Hailemariam
OBJECTIVES: To apply a gender lens to Ethiopia's Health Extension Program and the role of Health Extension Workers (HEWs). METHODS: Interviews with 45 HEWs and four focus group discussions with 14 of the same HEWS from three regions in rural Ethiopia: Afar Region; Tigray Region (Adwa Woreda); and two locations in Southern Nations, Nationalities and People's Region (Aleta Wondo Woreda and Kafa Zone). Two focus group discussions were conducted in Afar Region with 17 Women Extension Workers employed by Afar Pastoralist Development Association. RESULTS: Using the Gender Equality Continuum as a gender analysis tool, we found that Ethiopia's Health Extension Program is gender aware by directly linking improved health outcomes for women and their empowerment. However, for HEWs who inhabit a gendered space and place from home to district health centres, there can be unexpected consequences that accommodate existing gender inequalities, are blind to them and perhaps even generate new forms of exploitation. CONCLUSIONS: The Health Extension Program could have more transformative outcomes for HEWs and also for communities if changing gender norms was given more attention and constraints to gender equality were reduced. Community Health Worker (CHW) programs should focus on better understanding on the role of gender for CHWs across health systems.

History

Journal

Tropical medicine and international health

Volume

24

Issue

3

Pagination

304 - 319

Publisher

John Wiley & Sons

Location

Chichester, Eng.

eISSN

1365-3156

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2018, John Wiley & Sons Ltd