Integrating Poverty and Gender into Health Programmes - A Sourcebook for Health Professionals. Module on Water, Sanitation and Food


WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific

Publication details

Publication date: 2009
Price: US $ 10
ISBN: 9789290614449
Number of pages: 90



Although poverty and gender significantly influence health and socioeconomic development, health professionals are not always adequately prepared to address such issues in their work.This publication aims to improve the awareness, knowledge and skills of health professionals in the region on poverty and gender concerns.The modules that comprise this sourcebook are intended for use in pre-service and in-service training of health professionals. This publication is also expected to be of use to policy-makers and programme managers as a reference document, or in conjunction with in-service training.All modules in the series are linked, though each one can be used on a stand-alone basis if required. Two foundational modules establish the conceptual framework for the analysis of poverty and gender issues in health. Each of the other modules is intended for use in conjunction with these two foundational modules. The sourcebook also contains a module on curricular integration to support health professional educational institutions integrate poverty and gender concerns into existing curricula.About this moduleThis module is designed to improve the awareness, knowledge and skills of health professionals regarding poverty and gender concerns in actions to improve access to clean water, adequate sanitation and safe food.The Western Pacific Region has made great strides in improving access to clean water and sanitation in recent years. On average, the Region is making significant progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goal for clean water and adequate sanitation. However, these averages mask striking inequalities in access to clean water and adequate sanitation across and within countries in the Region. Evidence shows that poor individuals and households in rural and remote communities and urban poor areas are particularly disadvantaged. In addition, men and women's needs, access to and use of adequate water and safe sanitation tend to differ. With regard to food safety, the Region has made progress in establishing and strengthening national food safety systems and responding to outbreaks of foodborne diseases. However, some evidence suggests that poor households are more vulnerable than wealthier ones to foodborne pathogens. As is the case with water and sanitation, gender roles accord a more significant role to women than to men in handling and preparing food.The knowledge and tools needed to drastically improve the coverage of clean water, adequate sanitation and safe food largely exist. Mobilizing support for these interventions in developing countries will improve the health of millions, thereby contributing to poverty reduction and gender equality.