WHO Highlights Alarming Rates of Violence Against Women Globally
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Director for South-East Asia, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, has drawn attention to the alarming prevalence of physical and/or sexual violence against women globally. Almost one in three women worldwide experiences such violence in her lifetime, with intimate partner violence being a significant contributor. The South-East Asia Region ranks second-highest, with an estimated 33% prevalence.
Human Rights Violation
Violence against women is a grievous violation of human rights and has significant health impacts. The WHO Regional Director’s statements coincide with the start of the annual campaign, “16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women,” which runs from November 25 to December 10.
During the 16 days of activism, WHO, in collaboration with UNFPA’s regional office for Asia and the Pacific, is conducting a webinar on recently released guidance for integrating violence against women and girls (VAWG) into training curricula for health professionals. The campaign aims to raise awareness, promote prevention, and address the critical issue of gender-based violence.
Preventable Nature of Violence
Dr Khetrapal Singh emphasized that violence against women is preventable and rooted in gender inequality and harmful gender norms. Intimate partner violence and sexual violence are linked to factors at individual, family, community, and societal levels. The health sector, being a critical part of a multisectoral strategy, plays a vital role in preventing and responding to violence against women.
Health Sector’s Role
The health sector’s role includes strengthening the capacity of health systems, ensuring adequate resources, and providing appropriate delivery of services for survivors. Health facilities should identify and establish referral links to available services for survivors. Health providers play a crucial role in offering medical treatment, empathetic listening, and connecting survivors to support.
Prevention and Advocacy
The health sector, in collaboration with other stakeholders, is also essential in preventing violence against women and girls. Dr Khetrapal Singh highlighted the need for early identification and intervention to prevent or reduce the recurrence of violence. Additionally, the health sector has a role in advocating for evidence-informed policies and strategies for gender-based violence prevention and response.
Category: International / World Current Affairs