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Practical Material

Women and Trachoma - Achieving Gender Equity in the Implementation of SAFE

Kal A, International Trachoma Initiative , Ophthalmology K. 2023;

This manual will provide anyone interested in increasing equality in the use of eye care services, trachoma in particular, in low- and middle-income countries with the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure that programming and service provision are gender-sensitive. It will provide strategies, formulated from program experience, on how to improve gender equity service provision, considering nuanced approaches to programming; it will serve programs as they move towards the elimination of trachoma as a public health problem, as well as during transition planning and post-elimination. While the focus of this manual is on gender and trachoma, addressing gender equity in trachoma control has many collateral benefits in the broader health and development agenda.

This manual:

  • Provides evidence for why programs should consider gender roles and responsibilities when working to reach the global goal of eliminating trachoma as a public health problem by 2030.
  •  Explains how to revise existing monitoring tools to better assess the progress of programs toward the thresholds for the elimination of trachoma as a public health problem.
  • Provides varied experiences from all World Health Organization (WHO) regions on how to engage women and girls in aspects of trachoma programming.
  • Offers practical solutions to challenging problems of behavioral change related to the use of surgical services, hygiene and sanitation practices, and improved environmental conditions.
  • Suggests how programs can facilitate gender-nuanced approaches to transition planning to ensure individuals are not left behind after elimination thresholds have been met. y Includes insight into engaging women in trachoma elimination not only as recipients of services, but also in service provision in terms of human resource capacity.

This manual, previously published in 2009, has been updated to include lessons learned through activity implementation in endemic regions and findings from research that has become available since the previous edition. A new chapter on ‘Gender Representation in Human Resources’ has been included to reflect the increasing presence of women in the technical and leadership space. Since the last publication, many preferred practices manuals have been developed through ICTC and other entities; therefore, this manual will focus on issues and programming impacted by gender while referencing additional resources for more in-depth information of specific subject areas.

The manual is meant to provide strategies and preferred practices for including gender considerations in implementation, gleaned from years of activities in various country programs. These lessons can be modified and applied to other context-specific programming in order to enhance interventions of surgery, antibiotic distribution, facial cleanliness, and environmental improvement (SAFE) to achieve elimination of trachoma as a public health problem.