Rights-based and gender-sensitive approaches

Developing rights-based and gender-sensitive programming approaches

A rights-based programming approach

The World Health Organization advocates a rights-based approach to global health aimed at “integrating human rights norms and principles in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of health-related programmes. They include human dignity, attention to the needs and rights of vulnerable groups and an emphasis on ensuring that health systems are made accessible to all”.

A rights-based approach includes principles of:

  • Non-discrimination
  • Participation
  • Transparency and accountability, and
  • Empowerment of the most vulnerable populations in society.

A rights-based approach to HIV, TB and malaria programmes is based on an understanding of the impact of human rights on populations affected by HIV, TB and malaria and the ways in which stigma, discrimination, inequity and violence make people more vulnerable to the three diseases and block their access to health care.

Youth Peer Educator supporting adolescents to access services

It seeks to protect and promote the human rights of all affected populations to equality and non-discrimination and to ensure the participation and empowerment of those populations most vulnerable to HIV, TB and malaria, in achieving broader health and development goals.

A gender-sensitive programming approach

A gender-sensitive approach to health programming recognises the impact of gender inequality, harmful gender norms and gender-based violence on vulnerability to HIV, TB and malaria and the ability to access appropriate prevention, treatment, care and support services.

Gender-sensitive programmes and approaches to HIV, TB and malaria work alongside human rights approaches. They aim to address systemic gender inequality by empowering and increasing the capacity of women and girls, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) populations to protect their health and well-being. They challenge social and cultural norms that sustain inequality, harmful gender norms and gender-based violence. They strengthen the participation of women and girls and LGBTI populations in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programmes.

Critical Enablers