Gender sensitization among health providers and communities through transformative learning tools: Experiences from Karachi, Pakistan

B. T. Shaikh, S. Reza, M. Afzal, F. Rabbani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Context: Pakistan lags far behind most developing countries in women's health and gender equity. Appropriateness of health care services vis-à-vis the gender specific cultural norms that influence clients' needs are not very visible and are more difficult to monitor. Programs and services need to be sensitively designed to facilitate women's access to physical and social needs. This paper narrates the experience of working with health providers from public and private sectors, community, local government representatives and community-based organizations. Through transformative learning, this endeavour focused on initiating a process of sensitization on gender related health issues for women. Approach: The initiative was primarily based on the use of the following two standardized tools: 'Health Workers for Change' for working with health providers and 'Initiating Women Empowerment for Health' for interacting with the community. Both tools focus primarily on women's health and social issues affecting their health status. The research methodology used was predominantly qualitative, using focus group discussions, participatory rural appraisal and interactive workshops. Implications: This approach endeavours to sensitize the health service providers to the health needs of female clients and encourages behavioural changes. Simultaneously, it creates an opportunity to raise awareness among women and the community in general regarding appropriate health-seeking behaviour and the timely use of health services. The information collected is evidence for policy makers regarding the gender-based problems faced by women who are seeking health care and it suggests how to overcome these problems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118
JournalEducation for Health: Change in Learning and Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2007


  • Gender
  • Health system
  • Health-seeking behaviour
  • Pakistan
  • Participatory rural appraisal


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