Harare, September 27, 2012 – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC-Zimbabwe), the Zimbabwe government, and civil society organizations are together pioneering a unique program, the Gender Challenge Initiative (GCI), to explore and correct health inequities that systematically disadvantage female populations.
The Gender Challenge Initiative (GCI) will employ implementation science research and evaluation to improve decision making and the equitable distribution of resources for improving health service provision. The GCI was launched at Mwanza Rural Health Centre in the Chikwaka Communal lands of Goromonzi District, on September 27th.
“The PEPFAR program in Zimbabwe recognizes that gender inequalities fuel the spread of HIV and AIDS,” said Paula Morgan, Deputy Director of CDC/Zimbabwe. “This is why CDC is committed, through the Gender Challenge Initiative, to further support evidence-based programming and community mobilization to address these inequalities. These findings will further advance our responsibility to move from commitment to action.”
The GCI will be implemented across all ten provinces in Zimbabwe by local NGOs -- DAPP, FACT Mutare, Padare Men's Forum on Gender, Katswe Sistahood, SAFAIDS, SAYWHAT, WAG, WASN, WiPSU, SistaSista Theatre for Development, Zubo Trust, and the Community Working Group on Health (CWGH), with collaboration and support from RTI international. GCI partners will work to provide mechanisms that address the perpetual problem of health care gender inequalities in Zimbabwe. Other key supporters include the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the University of Zimbabwe, and the Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe.
"Gender Challenge Initiative activities will identify messages for those responsible for framing policy and those responsible for leading projects. The central message is that the status quo of research quality is unsatisfactory,” said Fortunate Machingura, Senior Technical Specialist for Research and Gender, RTI. ”There are contextual, cultural and structural obstacles which need to be overcome in order to achieve better dialogue and collaboration to create real ‘communities of knowledge’.”
GCI is working through gender thematic forums to identify priority health and gender issues in need of further enquiry through applied research. GCI’s capacity building strategy combines structured training and on-the-job mentoring with support for institutional strengthening, including proposal development, research design and analysis, reporting, and application of results.
CDC-Zimbabwe, with funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), is providing a seed grant for the first two years of the GCI through RTI International. The United States remains fully committed and engaged with Zimbabwe in the fight against HIV/AIDS through PEPFAR. Under the program, PEPFAR and CDC will continue to support the strengthening of research capacities in Zimbabwe and evidence based decision making through the provision of technical and financial assistance.
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