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Are women safe in disaster? Competency in handling gender-based violence by public health staff in Galle district

Authors:

E. P. M. De Silva,

University of Colombo, Colombo, LK
About E. P. M.
Postgraduate Institute of Medicine
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T. T. Ponnamperuma

University of Ruhuna, Galle, LK
About T. T.
Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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Abstract

 

Introduction: Gender-based violence (GBV) is a human right issue that is common but under reported. It is noted that GBV incidence increases in disaster situations. As the public health staff is the key responsible personnel in post-disaster health management, their competencies in managing GBV in crisis situation are extremely important.

 

Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in conveniently selected 8 Medical Officer of Health (MOH) areas in Galle district. All four categories of public health workers (medical officers, nursing sisters, public health inspectors and midwives) working at selected MOH offices were assessed by a selfadministrated questionnaire regarding knowledge on identification, prevention and management of GBV victims in disaster situations.

 

Results: Among 200 public health workers, only 23.5% had training on disaster management. Among the trained MOH staff, only 34.0% were taught on handing GBV in disaster situation. Knowledge on GBV was average in the staff (mean = 72.3, SD = 7.7). There was no significant difference observed in identification, prevention and management of GBV between different employment categories of the MOH staff (all ps > 0.05). Knowledge on GBV showed no difference between the trained and untrained staff (t (198,200) = 0.8, p = 0.4) on disaster management.

 

Conclusions and Recommendations: Knowledge on identification, prevention and management of GBV in disaster situations among the public health staff was average, and was not sufficient. Only a minority have obtained training and all these programmes have not addressed GBV management. Thus, it is recommended to hold regular training programmes to the public health staff in GBV management in disaster situations.
How to Cite: De Silva, E.P.M. and Ponnamperuma, T.T., 2020. Are women safe in disaster? Competency in handling gender-based violence by public health staff in Galle district. Galle Medical Journal, 25(4), pp.121–126. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/gmj.v25i4.8028
Published on 30 Dec 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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