Exploring health system readiness for adopting interventions to address intimate partner violence: a case study from the occupied Palestinian Territory

Manuela Colombini, Abdulsalam Alkaiyat, Amira Shaheen, Claudia Garcia Moreno, Gene Feder, Loraine Bacchus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
78 Downloads (Pure)


Domestic violence (DV) against women is a widespread violation of human rights. Adoption of effective interventions to address DV by health systems may fail if there is no readiness among organizations, institutions, providers and communities. There is, however, a research gap in our understanding of health systems' readiness to respond to DV. This article describes the use of a health system's readiness assessment to identify system obstacles to enable successful implementation of a primary health-care (PHC) intervention to address DV in the occupied Palestinian Territory (oPT). This article describes a case study where qualitative methods were used, namely 23 interviews with PHC providers and key informants, one stakeholder meeting with 19 stakeholders, two health facility observations and a document review of legal and policy materials on DV in oPT. We present data on seven dimensions of health systems. Our findings highlight the partial readiness of health systems and services to adopt a new DV intervention. Gaps were identified in: governance (no DV legislation), financial resources (no public funding and limited staff and infrastructure) and information systems (no uniform system), co-ordination (disjointed referral network) and to some extent around the values system (tension between patriarchal views on DV and more gender equal norms). Additional service-level barriers included unclear leadership structure at district level, uncertain roles for front-line staff, limited staff protection and the lack of a private space for identification and counselling. Findings also pointed to concrete actions in each system dimension that were important for effective delivery. This is the first study to use an adapted framework to assess health system readiness (HSR) for implementing an intervention to address DV in low- and middle-income countries. More research is needed on HSR to inform effective implementation and scale up of health-care-based DV interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberczz151
Pages (from-to)245-256
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Policy and Planning
Issue number3
Early online date12 Dec 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Dec 2019


  • domestic violence
  • violence against women
  • health systems research
  • qualitative research


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