Case Synopsis

The Pakistani Maternal Newborn Health Initiative (PAMNHI) project needs to shift its focus from providing solely maternal, neonatal, and child (MNCH) services in Pakistan to incorporating sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services in order to be approved by Global Affairs Canada (GAC). Aamir Khan, senior program manager at Daud Foundation Canada (DFA), and his team must weave SRH services into this project, which is being implemented in Pakistan, where sexual and reproductive health rights are a very sensitive issue. Aamir knows that achieving gender equality in Pakistan is a very complex issue due to many competing factors, such as the predominantly patriarchal structure of society and the lack of support from governing bodies.

Aamir knew that, moving forward, the involvement of key stakeholders would be crucial in addressing gaps in gender disparities and responding to the local needs of the population. Key stakeholders have the ability to support and promote the integration of SRH services throughout PAMNHI in order to address gendered barriers and advance equitable outcomes and benefits from project interventions for women in Northern Pakistan.

The goal is to identify key stakeholders who have the potential to influence the perceptions of communities in order to successfully promote SRH in Pakistan and align the project’s focus with GAC’s mandate of addressing sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR). Also, Aamir and his team must discuss the roles, interest, and influence of each potential stakeholder (i.e., religious leaders and community partners) in helping to strengthen the project’s focus and achieve the underlying goal of decreasing gender disparities in Pakistan.

Case Objectives

  1. Explore the extent of gender disparities that exist in developing countries like Pakistan.
  2. Understand Canada’s mandate on international programming; gain insight on how various organizations (i.e., DFC and GAC) must work together to address sensitive topics such as SRHR in developing nations.
  3. Discuss the importance of stakeholder engagement for the success of projects by identifying key stakeholders and creating an engagement plan.

Case Study Questions

  1. What are the key health and gender issues facing women and adolescent girls in these regions of Pakistan?
  2. How do you think community leaders, health service providers, and other influencers feel about gender equality, specifically sexual and reproductive health?
  3. What are the main actions needed to address barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health services for women?
  4. How can nonprofit organizations engage both men and boys and change the attitudes and behaviours towards the sexual and reproductive health rights of women?
  5. What are the most effective ways to increase women’s participation in decision making around their sexual health and reproductive rights at the household and community levels?


gender equality, women and adolescent girls, sexual and reproductive health, community engagement, stakeholder relationships, global health, Global Affairs Canada, Pakistan

Additional Author Information

Shiza Sheikh, BSc, MPH

Fawad Akbari, MD, MPH, Senior Program Manager, Health

Amardeep Thind, MD, PhD, Professor



Recommended Citation

Sheikh, S., Akbari, F., Thind, A. (2018). Improving Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights: A Key Step in Achieving Gender Equality in Pakistan. in: McKinley, G. & Sibbald, S.L. [eds] Western Public Health Casebook 2018. London, ON: Public Health Casebook Publishing.