Monday, December 7, 2009

2009 Campaign PR (1/12):Public Health and Gender Violence

Health care professionals – doctors, nurses and others – must be equipped with the skills and the right attitude to handle cases related to gender and sexual violence. This was the theme of a workshop on “Public Health and Gender Violence”, held at Omayal Achi College of Nursing on Tuesday. Facilitated by Prajnya, a Chennai-based non-profit centre for research, public education and networking as part of its 16 Days Campaign against Gender Violence, the workshop was jointly conducted by Dr. Prasanna Poornachandra of International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care (PCVC) and Nancy Veronica Thomas of Tulir - Centre for the Prevention & Healing of Child Sexual Abuse.

The four-hour session was interactive and included both presentations and anecdotal references to illustrate how and why gender violence is relevant for health care professionals. “The workshop was an attempt to sensitise nursing students on the importance of both physiological and psychological care for victims of gender violence,” said Nancy. “Nurses are the one-point contact in the case of a medical emergency, and have an important role to play in the case of a sexually abused patient,” she added.

The health implications of the various forms of gender violence are many, and include injuries, broken bones, psychological illnesses like neurological disorders, depression, anxiety and long term physiological diseases like arthritis, blood pressure, heart problems and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). “The role of a health care professional in a gender violence incident is four-fold, and includes: identifying, assessing, documenting and educating,” said Dr. Prasanna during the session. The social costs of gender violence were also discussed at the workshop.

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