Analytical summary - Gender and women's health
In the Gambia, there are continuing efforts to pay special attention to the girl child. The Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education has a policy objective that includes:
- free education for girls in rural areas
- allowing pregnant girls to go back to school after delivery
- encouraging girls and women to pursue science and technology courses.
This may have contributed to gender parity and the fact that the Gambia is on track to achieving the Millennium Development Goal for education.
The Children’s Act was passed in 2005, which ensures that all Gambian adolescent girls are accorded their rights as enshrined in the Act. Early marriage is more common in rural than urban areas for many girls under the age of 18 years. The United Nations Children's Fund works with an nongovernmental organization, Tostan Gambia, to end harmful traditional practices such as early marriage, child pregnancy and female genital mutilation/cutting through a holistic human rights approach, using informal education.
The Gambia has identified five core areas of reproductive health:
- improving antenatal, perinatal, newborn care and postpartum;
- providing high-quality services for family planning, including infertility services;
- eliminating unsafe abortion;
- combating sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, reproductive tract infections, cervical cancer and other gynaecological morbidities;
- promoting sexual health.
Adult women outside reproductive years do not have specific programmes and most often are treated as part of any general outpatient service. However, there is need to have services that sensitize women on issues such as menopause, the need for regular Pap smears and keeping fit.
Older women do not have specific programmes for their health except that the Department of Social Welfare under the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has a home for the infirm that takes care of health and well-being for elderly citizens, including women who have no social support.
- ↑ The Gambia National Gender Policy, 2010–2020. Banjul, Government of the Gambia