The Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) has recently added a new module to its Implementation Research Toolkit that will help strengthen the capacity of researchers to incorporate an intersectional gender perspective in implementation research (IR) projects and related proposals.

TDR collaborates with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Access and Delivery Partnership (ADP). This unique partnership recognizes that the introduction of new health technologies can place significant burden on existing health systems in LMICs, including challenges relating to social determinants of health. One of the priority areas of capacity strengthening is in IR for effective service delivery.   

New health technologies or interventions that have proved effective in strictly controlled clinical trials may not be as effective when used at a larger scale within ‘real life’ settings and in different health systems, especially in fragile or resource-limited settings, due to unforeseen barriers. This is where IR is of use: it helps identify such barriers and then allows essential adaptations to be made to ensure best fit with the local context. Such barriers, for instance, can relate to socioeconomic or cultural contexts or to user characteristics. It is for this reason that it is so important to also consider gender perspectives when conducting IR. It is known, for instance, that gender norms, roles and relations all influence people’s susceptibility to different health conditions, and that sex and gender are key drivers of health outcomes (including through delivery and access to health products and services).

TDR’s interactive Implementation Research Toolkit helps researchers and others identify barriers to implementation and was designed to help improve IR projects. For example, the toolkit helps researchers formulate their research question and subsequently plan, conduct, monitor and evaluate their IR project. 

The new ‘intersectional gender lens’ module draws from a new TDR toolkit for health researchers: Incorporating intersectional gender analysis into research of infectious diseases of poverty. The four sections of the new module introduce researchers to concepts of gender, intersectionality and intersectional gender analysis while highlighting the relevance and importance of incorporating a intersectional gender approach in IR.  

After following the step-by-step guidance that the new module provides, researchers will be able to:

  • understand the relevance and importance of gender and intersectionality in IR;
  • develop IR proposals incorporating an intersectional gender lens;
  • plan to implement IR projects using an intersectional gender lens.

The new module will be translated for the French version of the IR toolkit. An additional IR Toolkit module is currently under development by TDR, focusing on integrating ‘One health’ approaches into the IR process. That module will be launched during 2023.

Figure 1: Represents how gender intersects with other social and economic characteristics within the intersectionality wheel, emphasizing gender as the entry point into intersectional gender analysis.

For more information, please contact: Mariam Otmani del Barrio and Dr Edward Mberu Kamau

This article was originally published on the TDR website.