Resource Spotlight: Developing Lay Health Worker Policy in South Africa: A Qualitative Study

photo credit: C. Urdata
photo credit: C. Urdata

Over the past half decade South Africa has been developing, implementing and redeveloping its lay health worker (LHW) policies. Research during this period has highlighted challenges with LHW program implementation. These challenges have included an increased burden of care for female LHWs. The aim of this study was to explore contemporary LHW policy development processes and the extent to which issues of gender are taken up within this process.

From the interviews it seems that gender as an issue never reached the policy making agenda. Although there was strong recognition that the working conditions of LHWs needed to be improved, poor working conditions were not necessarily seen as a gender concern. There was no group or body who brought the issue of gender to the attention of policy developers. As such the issue of gender never entered the policy debates on LHW programs. [from abstract]

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