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HeRWAI Manual

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The HeRWAI manual can be downloaded in a range of languages from the Translations page.

For a hard copy, contact the Women’s Human Rights team of Aim for human rights

Tel: +31 (0)30 233 40 27

Welcome to the Health Rights of Women Assessment Instrument (HeRWAI) Resource Centre pages.

HeRWAI is a strategic tool to enhance lobbying activities for better implementation of women's health rights. A HeRWAI analysis links what actually happens with what should happen according to the human rights obligations of a country.

Based on this analysis you make recommendations to a government to improve their policies or the implementations of their policy. Two examples from the Netherlands and Nepal.


Women in Nepal often work in construction. They have to work even during their pregnancy. After their pregnancy they do not get sufficient maternity leave to fully recover from their delivery. In combination with the heavy physical construction work this provides a risk for women to develop a prolapsed uterus. This is a serious health problem for these women and causes them many different problems. Furthermore the women do not have the financial means to get treatment, although this is possible. Based on their HeRWAI study, a Nepalese NGO called WOREC recommended to their government to develop a policy which provides free operation for women with a prolapsed uterus. This policy was accepted. 


In April 2008 a modification of the Dutch health care insurance law was proposed and analyzed through HeRWAI. In the Netherlands undocumented women were supposed to visit specifically designated clinics during their pregnancy to receive health care. The clinics involved would only receive 80% refund of the cost they made for these women. In practice this would mean that access to health care of undocumented women in the Netherlands would be reduced. Clinics might not treat women if they did not receive the full refund of their induced cost and women might not be able to find the specifically designated clinic. From a human rights perspective a government is not allowed to reduce the level of healthcare to any women, undocumented or not. Therefore recommendations were made by Dutch NGOs to Dutch policy makers to change the refund to a 100% which was accepted.