Domingo, Abril 21, 2024
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The National Director for Primary Care Support, at the Ministry of Health (MH), Noel Gama Soares said that with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), they have built facilities and provided training for health professionals to strengthen the support provided to survivors of Gender Based Violence (GBV) at the local level.

The National Director for Primary Care Support, at the Ministry of Health (MH), Noel Gama Soares said they have built facilities and provided training for health professionals to strengthen the support provided to survivors of Gender Based Violence (GBV) at the local level.

He added that GBV is a public health issue that has been integrated into the national health system and it needs to provide a safe space inside all health facilities for survivors who are seeking support with health treatments.

“Our national health system must look at the issue of gender-based violence and this is why together with UNFPA we have been providing robust support for reproductive health and to address gender-based violence. We have established safe places in the municipalities so that women and young girls who survive violence can get the support they need.

We have provided training for health professionals so they can aid patients in safe places because we know that cases of gender-based violence are under-reported, people are not willing to come forward. We need safe places so that they feel safe to tell us what happened,” he said after attending a session on how to respond to Gender Based Violence including violence by an intimate partner, at the Vera Cruz Health Centre ,in Dili.

He said the health assistance provided by health professionals at the safe places for GBV survivors is based on the national guidelines for survivors of GBV and data collected, including facts that may be used by the formal justice system when a case is brought to court.

Municipalities with safe places include Ermera, at the Gleno health centre, in Maliana, at the health centre of Atabae, in Viqueque, at the internment health centre of Viqueque town, and in Liquiça at the internment centre of Liquiça town.

According to health data, in 2023, 1005 survivors of GBV were provided health care assistance by health professionals at the safe places inside health facilities across the country.

Meanwhile, the Chief of the Health Centre of Gleno, in Ermera municipality, Alcina Fernandes, said that so far, survivors seeking the support of a safe place presented with injuries or trauma, and were treated for their injuries and with counselling to deal with their trauma.

She added gender-based violence includes four types of violence, physical violence causing injury, sexual violence, psychological violence, and financial violence.

“The assistance we provide addresses the health needs. But often we see survivors of physical aggression and we have trained staff who can give counselling to make the women stronger to face the situations they are facing,” she said.

She said health assistance provided to survivors of GBV is ongoing, but they face staff shortages because many of the trained health professionals had their contracts expire in December 2023.

In 2023, they were able to help 45 women and girl survivors of domestic violence and abandonment.

In the meantime, UNFPA Program Analyst, Dircio Francisco Xavier Ximenes, said the UN agency is supporting the Ministry of Health and the National Public Health Institute (INSPTL) to develop a national curriculum on providing health assistance to survivors of GBV and violence from intimate partners.

He added, they also provide training to standardise the knowledge of health professionals and train the trainers to facilitate training in the municipalities.

“Currently, we have 200 health professionals who have received training and moving forward we will expand to all municipalities because we need health professionals to receive survivors in all health facilities,” he said.

He also said that construction to the safe places in Dili, Baucau, Lautem, and Covalima are complete, and they intend to launch first in Dili to provide quality and dignified support for survivors.