From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
A Non Governmental Organization (NGO)- Centre for Environment and Human Rights Development (CEHRD), on Wednesday, trained health workers in Rivers State, on strengthening health system response to gender based violence.
Participants at the training which was held in Port Harcourt, included doctors, nurses and other health workers selected from both government and private health institutions.
Speaking, Head, Human Rights and Governance, CEHRD, Dr David Vareba, said the training came as a result of the increase in cases of rape in Rivers State, noting that the organization has discovered that there is lack of synergy among critical stakeholders of gender based violence.
Dr Vareba who acknowledged the critical stakeholders in gender based violence as health sector, the police and the civil society, said: “What we did is, we have trained the police and now we are training the health sector.
“What we are doing is trying to let each of these critical sectors know what they need to do in case of gender based violence, so that eventually we can come together for a policy dialogue in establishing evidence for gender based violence.
“If we do not establish evidence, it will also be difficult to hold perpetrators of gender- based violence to account. So we are here to train the health workers beyond normal routine work.
“We trained them on how they can have empathy on the survival of gender-based violence, how they can use psychological empathy, how they can attend to survival of gender- based violence in all ramifications and how they can synergise with the police who have the responsibility to enforce the laws, especially ‘The violence against persons prohibition Act’.
“If there is synergy amongst these stakeholders, I think issues of gender based violence will reduce in our state”.
Also speaking, Dr Francis Nubari Nabie, Head, Rural Health and Community Development, CEHRD, noted: “We are gathered here today to have understanding on concept of gender-based violence”.
Dr Nabie who trained the participants said: “The issue of gender-based violence is holistic, it affects male and the female. There are instances where men are also violated, assaulted because a woman that is over them in terms of power, in terms of monetary position, better dispose take advantage and oppressed them.
“Today, we have been able to establish a fact that gender-based violence affects both women and men. It is both human rights and public problems as it cut across strata of individuals”.
He explained that the programme is meant to improving the response of health workers on how to address gender-based violence in harmony with other stakeholders.
In an interview with a cross section of participants at the training, they noted that many persons have suffered emotional violence because of where they come from, adding that economic violence is the worst suffered by the people.
According to a nurse, Robinson Tubosoye, “we need to jointly fight against gender-based violence”, adding that health workers were taught on how to be confidential in dealing with rape and defilement cases.