Responding to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
Health providers have the potential to serve as an important entry point for identifying sexual and gender-based violence. With this awareness, MSH has successfully implemented projects to build capacity of health providers to recognize the signs of such violence and to integrate screening and referral activities into health service delivery projects.
In the resource-poor, conflict-ridden Democratic Republic of Congo, where two-thirds of all women have reported being victims of some form of gender based violence (GBV), MSH is implementing the USAID-funded, 5-year, $140M Integrated Health Project. Broadly, the project seeks to increase the availability and use of services, products, and high impact practices in the areas of family planning; maternal, newborn and child nutrition; malaria; tuberculosis; neglected tropical diseases; HIV/AIDS; and water, sanitation, and hygiene. MSH has worked to integrate gender-sensitive and rights-based approaches to the provision of medical care in order to improve uptake. As part of this work, and in recognition of the to the specialized needs of GBV victims, the project utilizes health providers as a valuable entry point for reaching these victims. This work has included training of healthcare providers (doctors, nurses and nurse directors, midwives) and health zone management teams in the Clinical Care of Sexual Assault tool, in order to improve recognition of and support to sexual assault victims with respectful and confidential services and products and also the building and strengthening referral networks for related services