By Rositta Liosi – EMTV Online
Fiji is the first country in the Pacific to have a gender-based violence medical guideline for comprehensive case management.
Entitled ‘Responding to Intimate Partner Violence against Women and Girls,’ the guideline covers a basic understanding of gender-based violence, the role of health systems in responding to cases of gender-based violence, clinical management and referral pathways.
The gender-based violence medical guideline was launched on December 5, at the annual Fiji Midwifery Society’s scientific conference, which overlapped with the ‘16 Days of Activism to End Gender Violence.’
This was part of a general health system strengthening based on findings of violence against women prevalence studies.
These studies were supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) pacific subregional office conducted in 10 Pacific Island countries.
Health workers in Fiji will use this guideline to ensure that a uniform approach is applied when elements of gender-based violence are present in any case.
This guideline includes all relevant legal frameworks, with regards to gender-based violence.
Health workers, which are involved in the management of gender-based violence cases, are also provided with guidance on the collection of evidence and giving evidence in court.
Moreover, health workers will have links to social support services that survivors of gender-based violence can consider.
The UNFPA Pacific director and representative, Dr Laurent Zessler, commended midwives at the launch for their tireless efforts and the efforts of their colleagues in the area of maternal health.
“This is a huge milestone for Fiji though with implications of a regional progress given Fiji’s leadership in this area. No other Pacific Island country has a gender-based violence medical guideline yet.”