Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has handed over the Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Clinic in Mbare to the City of Harare’s health department.
The incident coincided with the official opening of an Adolescent clinic in the neighbourhood. MSF started the Sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) project in Mbare in 2011 in collaboration with the City of Harare health department when it conducted a baseline survey which showed that there were many incidences of sexual violence in the suburb but the majority of people were not seeking help and the services provided were not adequate.
“Since inception of the SGBV project in 2011, MSF has been providing free, confidential medical treatment and psycho-social support to survivors of sexual violence in collaboration with the City of Harare health department. Along the way we have learned a lot and we have improved our model to be as efficient as possible.
“In this I need to mention that we were only as good as our colleagues at work would be and I want to praise all the staff who have made the SGBV clinic what it is today. I thank you and even if we have parted we will be there to support you,” MSF Zimbabwe Director, Bjorn Nissen.
He revealed that between 2011 and 2017, more than 8200 survivors of sexual violence received comprehensive care at the clinic. Of these survivors, 7 out of 10 were children and adolescents below the age of 15 years.
“It’s saddening that in 8 of 10 of the cases, the perpetrators of sexual violence were people that are known either by the child or the family. As MSF, we have been working with the City of Harare Health Department in Mbare and eight other polyclinics (in Glenview, Budiriro, Kuwadzana, Mabvuku, Hatcliff, Rujeko – Dzivarasekwa and Rutsanana – Glen Norah) where we decentralized SGBV care to provide free, confidential medical treatment and psycho-social support to survivors of sexual violence, and referrals for legal aid. This roll out of SGBV services needs to continue under the leadership of the CoH and other partners.”
MSF created a centre of excellence where more than 100 nurses were trained on SGBV management and close to a 100 nurses were attached to the Edith Opperman clinic for mentorship.
“As we hand over the SGBV clinic today, we are confident that the City of Harare with financial support from UNFPA will continue to develop this center of excellence and continue to provide quality SGBV care to all survivors of sexual violence. Not the least for the survivors, I want to assure you that the City of Harare will continue to provide quality and comprehensive SGBV care.
“Our support to the City of Harare is not ending with the handover of the SGBV project today. As MSF, we are continuing to provide free sexual and reproductive health services to adolescents at this clinic. I am pleased to let you know that we are also officially opening a new adolescent clinic, which is not just disability friendly but also adolescent friendly to make this an attractive and safe place to seek assistance. The free services that we offer include HIV testing, STI screening, contraception and general health checkups among other things,” Nissen added.
The launch coincided with the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence. There was a call for stakeholders to spearhead efforts towards ending all forms of violence. MSF reiterated its strong support of #BecauseIAmAMan launched by Sweden and the UN family.