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J Health Commun. 2014;19 Suppl 1:122-41. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2014.918216.

An evidence review of gender-integrated interventions in reproductive and maternal-child health.

Author information

1
a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , Atlanta , Georgia , USA.

Abstract

Evidence-based behavior change interventions addressing gender dynamics must be identified and disseminated to improve child health outcomes. Interventions were identified from systematic searches of the published literature and a web-based search (Google and implementer's websites). Studies were eligible if an intervention addressed gender dynamics (i.e., norms, unequal access to resources), measured relevant behavioral outcomes (e.g., family planning, antenatal care, nutrition), used at least a moderate evaluation design, and were implemented in low- or middle-income countries. Of the 23 interventions identified, 22 addressed reproductive and maternal-child health behaviors (e.g., birth spacing, antenatal care, breastfeeding) that improve child health. Eight interventions were accommodating (i.e., acknowledged, but did not seek to change gender dynamics), and 15 were transformative (i.e., sought to change gender dynamics). The majority of evaluations (n = 12), including interventions that engaged men and women to modify gender norms, had mixed effects. Evidence was most compelling for empowerment approaches (i.e., participatory action for maternal-child health; increase educational and economic resources, and modify norms to reduce child marriage). Two empowerment approaches had sufficient evidence to warrant scaling-up. Research is needed to assess promising approaches, particularly those that engage men and women to modify gender norms around communication and decision making between spouses.

PMID:
25207450
PMCID:
PMC4205884
DOI:
10.1080/10810730.2014.918216
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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