GBV prosecution: Health physicians call for establishment of forensic labs in geopolitical zones

By Hassan Zaggi

The Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria (APHPN), has called for the establishment of forensic laboratories in each geopolitical zone to support the prosecution of  Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the country.

The group made the call in a communique it issued at the end of its 37th Annual General  Meeting and Scientific Conference which took place between June 15 -17, in Abuja.

The 6 point communique was signed by the APHPN chairman, Prof. Benjamin S.C Uzochukwu.

As part of the annual conference, APHPN, in collabaration with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the           EU-UN Spotlight Initaitive hosted a high-level plenary session and launched the Orange the World campaign for doctors as part of efforts in amplifying the call for global and local action to end the pandemic violence, made worse by COVID-19.

The high-level plenary session with the theme: Strengthening Nigeria’s Health System to Meet the Needs of Survivors of Gender Based Violence and Harmful Practices: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The group in the communique further called “on all states yet to adopt the Violence against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) act and Child Rights Act (CRA) to do so without further delay, to protect our women and girls; beyond the adoption of the laws, we need to strengthen law enforcement and awareness of the law around Gender-Based Violence. Everyone should understand that violence against women and girls is unacceptable and will no longer be tolerated.”

The APHPN also called on all states to put in place a sex –offenders register to name and shame perpetrators and end the impunity around Gender-based Violence

“We call on every state government to establish and fund at least one GBV response center, and shelter by in its state with government-paid staff deployed and with effective linkages to other support services that survivors may need

“We call for the establishment of at least one forensic lab in each geopolitical zone in the country to support the prosecution of GBV

“We call on the National Council on Health to declare free medical care for survivors of Gender-based Violence and assign a focal point for GBV in each health facility in Nigeria to help survivors navigate through health facilities in a timely manner,” the communique noted.

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