ISSUE: Nigeria is a patriarchal society in which violence against women is a common occurrence that is rarely reported. Results of a survey showed that 45% of Nigerian women who experienced violence never sought help or told anyone- and as such did not receive the needed care. Barriers to not seeking services include fear of victimization, archaic legislation, lack of co-ordinated response and holistic service delivery for survivors. Although current interventions to increase access to post-gender based violence (GBV) services focus on capacity building of health care providers (HCP), evidence suggests that emphasis on this group alone is not adequate to address the range of clinical and non-clinical services as required. To address this, the Centre for Integrated Health Programs coordinated a multi-sector sensitization meeting to advocate for better responses and service provision that encourage GBV survivors report, seek and receive required services.
DESCRIPTION: A mix of stakeholders offering health, safety, legal and child protection services in Kaduna State, Nigeria were invited to attend a day’s sensitization meeting. Utilizing a participatory approach, subject matter experts facilitated sessions on local laws and implications of current policies, beliefs and norms on uptake of GBV services. The import of collaborations/linkages among organizations and individuals providing GBV related services were also discussed. Following this, the list of stakeholders were collated into a referral directory and shared with all. Community-health facility linkage networks were also mapped for facilitated referrals. The numbers of survivors who reported and received services were monitored monthly and after 5 months, pre and post-intervention data were analysed.
LESSON LEARNT: After the sensitization meeting, a comparative analysis revealed that the number of GBV cases receiving services from the 34 health facilities increased from 115 (105 females and 10 males) to 228 (187 females and 41 males) after the intervention, signifying a 98% increase in GBV case identification and reporting.
NEXT STEPS: Considering that the outcomes derived from the multi-sectorial sensitization meetings maybe effective in increasing the uptake of post GBV services. This approach could complement traditional training of HCP and ultimately increase post GBV services uptake.