By Sally Theobald,
Sarah Ssali from ReBUILD and Women and Gender Studies at Makerere University, Uganda, presented her poster on “Gendered Health Care Coping in Northern Uganda: What are the gender and equity considerations in post conflict health systems strengthening” at the Health Systems Conference in Cape Town. In discussion with poster Judge, and Emerging Voices presenter, Angelia Rawat, Sarah eloquently explained why gender needs to be taken into consideration in post-conflict reconstruction of health systems in northern Uganda. Health services are geared towards women as mothers, but in reality women have “lives beyond being mothers of babies” they have multiple identities and stages of their life cycle and many women are sadly widowed. In the post-conflict context, private providers flourish and people often have to pay for medicines. For women ability to pay is a big challenge and the choices they make are navigated by livelihoods, which in turn are shaped by access to land and animals where it is not an even playing field. Women have duties but no capital to fulfil them. Sarah concluded by arguing that gender matters in post-conflict reconstruction and needs to be taken into account in and beyond the health sector.