Home Healthcare Health workers treat gender-based violence victims daily — Senior Registrar

Health workers treat gender-based violence victims daily — Senior Registrar

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A Senior Registrar at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Dr Mariam Shiru, says health workers encounter, treat women and men who are victims of Gender-Based Violence daily.

She described SGBV as a menace and global phenomenon that must be nipped in the bud.

Speaking against the background of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women with the theme, ‘Invest to Prevent Violence against Women and Girls’, he said the exact frequency of GBV may vary depending on factors such as the location, population size and access to healthcare services.

The expert, who is also the Vice president, Association of Resident Doctors at UITH, described GBV as any form of violence that is primarily committed against individuals based on their gender or sex.

“It encompasses various abusive behaviours rooted in power imbalances between genders, aiming to control, intimidate, or harm individuals based on their gender identity,” she said.

Shiru explained that GBV encompasses various forms such as domestic violence, sexual assault and harmful practices like female genital mutilation.

According to her, GBV is a significant public health concern affecting millions of individuals globally, adding that available data indicated that a significant number of people in Nigeria experience gender-based violence.

“It is, however, often underreported and gathering accurate data can be challenging due to various factors, including stigma and fear of reprisal,” she added.

Stopping GBV, the physician said, required a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach involving individuals, communities, institutions and governments.

Shiru noted that there was a need for education and awareness campaigns to promote gender equality, human rights and respectful relationships through educational programmes in schools, universities and communities.

She canvassed for more awareness to be raised about the various forms of gender-based violence, their consequences and the importance of prevention.

Shiru said, “The government must establish and enforce strong laws and policies that criminalise Gender-Based Violence, ensure access to justice for survivors and hold perpetrators accountable.

“These include supporting specialised courts, training of law enforcement agents and creating safe reporting mechanisms.”

The medical practitioner underscored the need for data collection and research for accurate and reliable information on the prevalence and impact of GBV, stressing that this would help in using evidence-based research to inform policies, programmes and interventions.

She further advocated fostering international collaboration to address GBV, share best practices and provide support to countries facing challenges on the issue.

“This includes working with international organisations, NGOs and civil society groups.

“The Nigerian government can help to stop Gender Based Violence by implementing and enforcing comprehensive legislation that criminalising all forms of gender-based Violence,” she added

While calling for specialised law enforcement units trained to handle cases of GBV and to establish dedicated hotlines for reporting such cases, Shiru said ensuring access to justice for survivors was important and that specialized courts should be established to provide legal aid services.

(NAN)

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