WHO and UNFPA workshop to strengthen capacity for a public health approach to prevention and response to violence against women in East Africa
WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research, Regional Office for Africa and Uganda Country Office together with UNFPA convened a workshop in Entebbe from17 to 20 June to strengthen capacities of countries from East Africa to implement a public health approach to prevention and response to violence against women. The purpose was to strengthen participants’ understanding of and skills in applying concepts, evidence and guidelines for addressing violence against women as public health problems. Participants included representatives from Ministries of Health, Gender, other relevant Ministries, civil society and UN partners from seven East African countries including: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. Country delegations developed concrete follow up actions to apply the knowledge learned in the workshop in strengthening their on-going work on prevention of and response to violence against women.
The workshop was opened by the Ugandan Minister of State for Health, Honourable Sarah Opendi, Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Honourable Rukia Nakadam and the WHO Representative, Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu. They urged the participants to “develop practical and concrete actions for moving forward in addressing violence against women within your respective areas of work and responsibility in your countries” . The workshop aimed to increase understanding among participants of the magnitude, risk factors and health consequences of violence against women, improve knowledge about evidence-based interventions for prevention, identify actions to be taken by the health sector in providing services to survivors and improve understanding of how to plan, design, monitor and evaluate interventions.
Country delegations developed follow-up actions to strengthen prevention and response efforts for addressing violence against women. Examples of this included:
- Raising community awareness of unacceptability of violence against women
- Involving men in prevention activities for violence against women
- Updating national health sector guidelines for violence against women
- Integrate violence against women prevention curricula into life skills training
- Advocacy to integrate violence against women content in medical school curricula
- Developing training manual and implementing training for health providers on addressing violence against women in services
- Advocacy for sector-specific budgetary allocation to address violence against women in national plans and policies
- Developing guidelines to strengthen referrals for survivors of violence between health and other services