Ensuring Gender-Sensitive, Respectful Services

In many settings worldwide, health facilities fail to deal with the gendered aspects of care and treatment, including the challenges that clients face in accessing care and the delivery of services. Gender inequalities, unequal power dynamics, and negative provider attitudes impede respectful care for clients. In part due to gender norms and the overall low status of women in society, health providers sometimes practice gender discrimination toward clients, including — but not limited to — physical, sexual and emotional abuse, non-consented care, and a lack of privacy. On the other hand, health care providers in many societies also see reproductive health services as purely a woman’s domain and sometimes alienate men from participating.

MCSP helps facilities and providers take action to ensure that gender-sensitive, respectful services are provided to all clients through:

  • Conducting quality assurance and quality improvement on gender-sensitive service delivery in facilities using a standards-based supervision tool in a participatory process with providers;
  • Addressing gender-based discrimination leading to mistreatment of health workers and clients, through sensitization, skills-building and mentorship of health providers and facility managers; and
  • Building reproductive health services that are non-stigmatizing or gender-discriminatory to adolescents, unmarried people and non-traditional gender identities and sexual orientations.

Key Results


  • The Mozambique MOH asked MCSP to develop a gender strategy for the health sector. The strategy was launched in June 2018 at a stakeholders’ workshop, and MCSP continues to provide technical assistance to the MOH to integrate gender into its health interventions, budgets, planning processes, and data collection.
  • In India by March 2018, MCSP worked with the Indian organization C3 to train 15,700 community health workers (CHWs) and auxiliary nurse midwives and 961 facility-level providers on gender-sensitive family planning services that respect women’s autonomy, dignity and privacy. MCSP also sensitized 59 staff, government stakeholders, and C3 colleagues on gender and RMNCAH in two workshops in Odisha and Delhi.
  • In Tanzania, MCSP incorporated gender into community social and behavior change communication efforts led by community health workers (CHWs). More than 10,000 community members — including more than 4,000 men — participated in community-gender dialogue sessions led by CHWs. In Mara, 91% of men who participated indicated that they are willing to educate others at community and church meetings.
  • Jhpiego developed the Gender Service Delivery Standards, a tool to assess and improve the quality of gender-sensitive, respectful care. The tool helps identify challenges for facilities in providing gender-sensitive care and the improvements that can be made, including enhanced client privacy, male engagement, and improved policies regarding a woman’s ability to select family planning methods without requiring a husband’s consent. These standards are being implemented and adapted across health facilities where MCSP works:
    • MCSP/Tanzania has adapted and integrated the Gender Service Delivery Standards in assessments and continuous quality improvement processes.
    • MCSP/Mozambique is applying the standards in 56 health facilities in Nampula Province and 30 in Sofala Province.
    • MCSP/NigeriaP built the capacity of 41 providers to implement the Gender Service Delivery Standards.
Maternal Child Survival Program
Maternal and Child Survival Program