IRC Trains Health Workers Caring for Survivors of Sexual Violence
Eastern Congo has experienced a rise in violence since August, when fighting between rebels and government forces escalated. The IRC offered to provide training to 27 health workers from five clinics and Goma Regional Hospital, drawing on its technical expertise in reproductive health and sexual violence response.
Over the course of four days, IRC staff covered best practices for psychological and medical treatment for rape survivors, in line with World Health Organization guidelines.
“We recognized substantial need for more training in appropriate care of survivors,” said the IRC's reproductive health manager and lead trainer, Esther Nyambu. “Health workers here were trying to respond to needs, but they themselves felt inadequately prepared.”
Kavira Kahotwa Astrida, a Goma Regional Hospital nurse who participated in the training event, said she recently treated a 13-year-old girl who had been raped. She told the IRC that she now feels better equipped to confront similar cases. “I learned how to protect the rights of women who have survived sexual assault, how to administer the proper medications, and I've gained confidence,” said Astrida.
Goma Regional Hospital treats an average of 30 survivors of sexual violence each month, according to Dr. Willie Missumba, the hospital's deputy director. “We receive displaced people and rape survivors, but we haven't been up to date on how to manage their psychological and medical treatment,” he said. “We're going to be able to help them much more now.”
Since 2002, the IRC has supported more than 40,000 survivors of sexual violence in eastern Congo, and remains committed to meeting the needs of women and girls in the region.
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