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Health Policy. 2012 Jun;106(1):88-96. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2012.03.001. Epub 2012 Mar 30.

Gender sensitivity in national health plans in Latin America and the European Union.

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Department of Community Nursing, Preventive Medicine and Public Health, and History of Science, Alicante University, Spain.



To evaluate the situation regarding gender sensitivity in national health plans in Latin America and the European Union for the decade 2000-2010.


A systematic search and content analysis of national health plans were carried out within 37 countries. Gender sensitivity, defined as the extent to which a health plan considers gender as a central category and develops measures to reduce any gender-related inequalities, was analysed through an ad hoc checklist.


The description of health problems by sex was more frequent than intervention proposals aimed at reducing gender health disparities. The greatest number of specific intervention proposals targeted at overcoming gender-based health inequalities were associated with sexual and/or reproductive health, gender based violence, the working environment and human resources training. Compared to the European Union member states, Latin American health plans were found to be generally more gender sensitive.


National health plans are still generally lacking in gender sensitivity. Disparities exist in health policy formulation in favour of men, whilst women's health continues to be identified mainly with reproductive health. If gender sensitivity is not taken into account, efforts to improve the quality of clinical care will be insufficient as gender inequalities will persist.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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