A group of researchers from across various countries have called for a Feminist Global Health Policy (FGHP). 

The world should have a policy that addresses the inequality in the existing power structures hindering health equity, the researchers said.

Hannah Eger from the School of Public Health at Bielefeld University, Germany, recently led a study in which researchers and activists, including those from The George Institute for Global Health, India, and across the world collaborated. They highlighted the transformative potential of the intersectional feminist approaches in reshaping health policies.  

The researchers said the policy they envisaged would encompass holistic and inclusive principles that would reshape health policies and make them responsive to the most marginalised communities and individuals.  

The policy seeks to advance the transformation of health systems to make them more resilient and better prepared for health risks. It has called for integrating into the framework elements such as power regimes, intersectionality, and knowledge paradigms.  

Such an approach would promote genuine health equity and reproductive justice of all individuals, the researchers said. The framework will have a set of fundamental and globally applicable guiding principles that encompass human rights, equality, democracy, and decoloniality.  

Their study’s findings, which were published in PLOS Global Public Health, indicated how power dynamics and intersectionality significantly impact health outcomes. The FGHP recommends inclusive and responsive health policies that prioritise health fairness and reproductive rights.  

The researchers collected data from August to September 2022 through online focus group discussions with 11 participants from academic and activist backgrounds from across the world. 

The researchers say prevailing power structures and historical oppression have perpetuated health disparities and inequities across the world.

The principles of the policy that the researchers want implemented would not only challenge the existing inequalities but also will be context specific and accommodate the respective social determinants of health that uniquely shape health outcomes in different regions and communities. 

Their study found that, for the policy to be successful, it was necessary to meaningfully engage the community and raise awareness at all levels. The communities must be empowered, and their involvement must be ensured in decision-making for health interventions to be more targeted and effective, and tailored to their specific needs. The researchers found that raising awareness fostered understanding and empathy across diverse populations.  

The study highlighted the urgent need to break down the existing power systems and promote inclusive approaches in global health policy. By adopting the FGHP framework, stakeholders could work towards a fairer and more equitable global health environment, they added.  

Yatirajula Kanaka Sandhya, senior researcher at the George Institute for Global Health, India, said, “The FGHP framework offers a holistic approach to addressing health inequalities by focusing on intersectionality, power dynamics, and diverse knowledge systems. It highlights the importance of collaboration among communities, policymakers, researchers, and global health professionals in promoting health equity.” 

Details of the work may be accessed here.

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