Dr Senanu Djokoto (seated, 2nd from left), the acting Regional Director of Health Service; Air Commodore George Arko-Dadzie (seated, 4th from left), the Deputy Commandant of the KAIPTC, and Augustus Awity (seated, middle), the Volta Regional Coordinating Director, and some of the participants
Dr Senanu Djokoto (seated, 2nd from left), the acting Regional Director of Health Service; Air Commodore George Arko-Dadzie (seated, 4th from left), the Deputy Commandant of the KAIPTC, and Augustus Awity (seated, middle), the Volta Regional Coordinating Director, and some of the participants

No bills for gender-based violence victims in Volta Region

The Volta Region Directorate of Health is working with various stakeholders to remove all financial barriers preventing victims of Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV) from accessing prompt healthcare at health facilities in the region.

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“We will officially communicate to medical practitioners in all facilities this month to compassionately waive all professional fees to enhance prompt access to care for the victims,” the acting Regional Director of Health Services (RDHS), Dr Senanu Kwesi Djokoto, said.

The acting RDHS said that also included payment for medical forms by rape victims.

The move is to create a congenial environment for such victims to receive the needed support and ensure improved psychological support services for them without delay, he explained.

Dr Djokoto said this at the opening of a workshop on Gender-based Violence (GBV) for community actors in Ho last Monday.

About 50 participants drawn from the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU), religious organisations, Judicial Service, Department of Social Welfare from the Volta, Oti, Eastern and Greater Accra regions are attending the five-day programme.

The participants also include representatives of the Department of Gender, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), traditional authorities and civil society organisations from the five regions.

The workshop is being organised by the Women, Peace and Security Institute (WPSI) of the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) and funded by the Government of Norway to enhance the capacity of local actors for effective prevention and response to GBV in Ghana.

Medical situations

Dr Djokoto said the health service often encountered gender-based cases because of the medical situations that arose from intimate partner violence, sexual violence by non-partners and early marriages.

He said the health implications and complications included sexually transmitted infections, HIV being the most undesired and unwanted pregnancies that led women to unsafe abortions and maternal mortality.

Low reporting

The acting RDHS pointed out that the low reporting level of the cases, inadequate number of trained health professionals to attend to the cases and lack of consensus on the limits to which the health service could go with in-school education of young adolescents, posed challenges to efforts to address gender-based cases.

The Volta Regional Coordinating Director, Augustus Awity, who opened the workshop, said aside its human and development impacts, sexual and gender-based violence was serious violation of human rights and must not be tolerated in any form.

The Deputy Commandant of the KAIPTC, Air Commodore George Arko-Dadzie, said the fundamental principles of equality, justice and human rights must be upheld always to benefit all and sundry and that required the building of local capacity, empowering of individuals and communities to actively participate in the prevention and response to gender-based violence.

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