Gender Dimensions of and Challenges in Local Health Legislation

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Ann Heather B. Kiwang


Gender mainstreaming continues to form part of the Philippine government’s battle cry in its efforts to promote gender responsivepolicies and programs for the advancement of gender equality in the country. The success of these heath legislations and programs start with the process and the persons involved in their formulation. Members or representatives of the target beneficiaries of these laws and programs should actively participate in setting health agenda and priorities.

This research was conducted to provide information on the gender dimensions of and challenges in local health legislation with focus on the health ordinances of Municipality of La Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines. Using textual analysis, health concerns addressed by existing municipal ordinances were identified. Interviews with key persons were conducted to understand the formulation and enactment of these health ordinances as well as to identify the problems met in their implementation.

Findings highlight the absence of women in the formulation and enactment of health ordinances. In the municipal health care delivery system, however, most of the personnel are women. Also, there is an apparent lack of adequate consultation between health legislators and the key persons charged with the implementation of the health ordinances resulting to several problems in the implementation process which include lack of personnel, lack of facilities and equipment as well as budgetary constraints. Raising these issues at the local level can make a significant difference in the delivery of health care services to intended beneficiaries.

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