The First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Her Excellency Fatima Maada Bio, has officially opened a three-days training program for Medical doctors, on clinical care for sexual assault survivors at the Radisson blu, Mammy Yoko hotel in Freetown, on Wednesday 7th October 2020.
Giving an update on the background of the training Dr. Olabisi Cole stated, that the opening of the training marks a milestone in the fight against the sexual assault surge in the country, wherein a team of experts are set to train 35 medical doctors in the fight against gender-based violence.
She furthered, that the training will focus on the clinical care of survivors of sexual assault, with the objective of sensitizing and educating doctors to be able to provide free quality forensic medical care to victims of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
She added, that the training is to give the participant an understanding of intimate partners and sexual violence and to improve coordination and networking, providing service to survivors.
Madam Olabisi went on to state that, the training is also to motivate National Stake-holders to participate in clinical management and care of intimate partner and SGBV survivors, while it is to also ensure that doctors are provided with the skills and knowledge to feel confident and comfortable in writing medical certificate and in producing evidence in court, thereby assist in the persecution process aimed at acquiring justice for survivors.
The president of the Sierra Leone Medical Women’s Association, Doctor Francess wurie , in her statement, disclosed that the active involvement of women in any sphere of development is bound to be successful, stating that they want to be involved in issues affecting women and girls in the society, which is why the association has a specific interest in discussing potential avenues in preventing SGBV and also providing care for survivors of SGBV in Sierra Leone.
She went on to extend her appreciation to the First Lady and her partners for such an intervention, while she appeals to the ministry of Gender and Children Affairs and also the ministry of Health and Sanitation to provide all necessary supplies adequately in all the one-stop centers across the districts.
Rainbow initiative representative Mr. Daniel, explained that, the rainbow initiative is a national organization that is passionate to ending SGBV in Sierra Leone. He stated that, to actualize their vision as an organization, they have been working with many players including government, donors, and other partners, to ensure they play their role in ending SGBV in the country.
Mr. Kettoh stated that, they are currently working with the government and other organizations to provide service delivery at the community base level, where the rainbow center is not operating. He thanked the President and First Lady for their hiking interest on the protection of women and girls and said, it is as a result of the hiking interest that they are now experiencing a high reporting in cases right across the country, as survivors now have the courage to come out willingly to report SGBV.
The Head of Family Support Unit (FSU), Fatmata Kamara in her statement said, that as a unit, they were totally looking forward to this all-important training, as medical examination and treatment has been one of the numerous challenges the FSU has been facing over the years and now that the answer is at their doorstep, they will double their footstep to eliminate the menace in society, stating that, the additional doctors to the medical service means their this is action time now.
She said the FSU has intensified its fight against SGBV with emphasis place on SGBV against minors, wherein they have set up a secretariat at the FSU headquarters and appointed a female police officer to provide oversight during the investigation and act as a liaison between the FSU and the Law officers department.
The First lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Madam Fatima Maada Bio while delivering her opening remarks extends her heartfelt appreciation to Dr. Olabisi Cole, for her commitment and consistency in the cause and state that, “it is actually nice when you have men that believe in inequality”.
Her Excellency admonished all doctors present, that the fight against sexual assault and rape is not a one-man business, but a collective responsibility, as after the Hands Off Our Girls Campaign, the rapid rise in rape cases is alarming.
Madam Fatima furthered, that if everyone come together and speak with one voice, much can be achieved, stating that the systemic and institutional change in the fight of this magnitude, will forever remain in the country. Quoting from her ” the people cannot be silenced, as it is their legal right to protect their children” she states.
Strategic Communication Division
Office of The First Lady
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