Sexual violence against women and girls is one of the worst human rights violations in life. It is a daily occurrence and has led to untold human misery, death and disabilities in Nigeria.
Good forensic medical evidence is required for successfully prosecution of perpetrators of sexual violence against women and children.
Also, clients need to be protected, supported and treated appropriately for both medical and psychological trauma they suffer.
Today, the Managing Conflict in Nigeria (MCN) Program implemented by the British Council and funded by European Union in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe has provided resources and technical expertise to train medical practitioners of Sexual Assault Referral Centers (SARCs) in Yobe state.
Currently, there is one providing total package and 5 satellite SARCs among which Gashua and Potiskum specialist hospitals are being upgraded.
The ‘forensic/medical examination, treatment and psychological support training offers an opportunity for SARC personnel to get the appropriate skills and frame of mind to attend to the clients and survivors in the state.
Abdulkadir Sambo is Yobe State Team Leader, MCN Program. He said: “The objective of the training is to strengthen their capacity to be able to respond adequately to cases of sexual and gender-based violence because it requires a coordinated and rapid response to achieve successful prosecution of cases.”
The Consultant, Dr. Agwu Uche said the 5-day training in Kano is specifically on psycho-social support and medical management and the ability to collect samples and document evidence that would help justice system for survivors.
“We have been impacting knowledge on the medical management clients, how to access them, take history, examine them and how to document injuries that survivors might sustained so that it can be used as forensic evidence in the court to convict the preparators.
“The psycho-social needs knowledge of the client is being impacted on the participants to be able to cater to survivors,” added.
He also said before the training some of the SARC counsellors do not have adequate knowledge to counsel clients or survivors.
According to him, the ability to win the confidence of survivors and reintegrate them into the society is key because most of the survivors must have lost self esteem and self-worth, some of them may even have suicidal tendencies, adding that good counselling is required for a survivor to avoid such post traumatic syndromes.
Dr Uche maintained that with the training, survivors will be well treated and perpetrators convicted to reduce the prevalence of rape cases in the society.
Alh. Muhammad Hamidu Permanent Secretary, Yobe State Ministry of Health who represented the Honorable Commissioner acknowledged the continued support being provided by MCN especially towards increasing the capacity of the SARC personnel to adequately respond to survivors of SGBV in the state.
One of the participants, a nurse and a counsellor from Yobe state specialist hospital, Sadiya Usman said the training is very educative and impactful.
“I learnt a lot of counselling skills. The knowledge and skills will give me confidence in handling clients and survivors when I get back to work,” she declared.
Another participant from Yobe state specialist hospital, Dr Abubakar Sadiq Zakari said it is a one-training in all.
He confirmed that: “I have gained forensic knowledge on how to manage rape and assault cases, with this knowledge, I am now a better clinician in managing gender-based violence cases.”