Domestic violence: It’s not enough to enact laws – Doctors tell govt

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The Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria (APHPN) has called for action by States of the federation to end all forms of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the country.

Prof. Benjamin Uzochukwu, the National Chairman of the association, made the appeal in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja by Mrs. Kori Habib, Media Associate, UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

Uzochukwu in a six points call to action urged all states of Nigeria to as a matter of importance domesticate the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act to stem the wave of GBV.

“The Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria (APHPN): Calls on all states yet to adopt the Violence against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act and Child Rights Act (CRA) to do so without further delay, to protect our women and girls,” he urged.

The physicians also stressed the need to strengthen the country’s law enforcement and awareness of the law around violence against women and girls.

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“Beyond the adoption of the laws, we need to strengthen law enforcement and awareness of the law around Gender-Based Violence.

“Everyone should understand that violence against women and girls is unacceptable and will no longer be tolerated.”

Besides, the national chairman reiterated the call for legislations against GBV, called on all states to put in place a sex-offenders register to name and shame perpetrators and end the impunity around GBV.

He added: “We call on every State Government to establish and fund at least one GBV response centre, and shelter in its state with government-paid staff deployed and with effective linkages to other support services that survivors may need.

“We call for the establishment of at least one forensic lab in each geopolitical zone in the country to support the prosecution of GBV perpetrators.”

The association was also united in the call on the National Council on Health to declare free medical care for survivors of GBV and assign a focal point for GBV in each health facility in Nigeria to help survivors navigate through health facilities in a timely manner.

NAN recalls that the six-point call to action was issued at the 37th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria (APHPN) held from June 15 to 17, in Abuja.

One of the themes of this year’s conference centred around putting a spotlight on the rising spate of violence against women and girls in Nigeria and profer solutions.

The World Health Assembly as far back as 1996 declared violence against women as a major public health issue that urgently needed to be addressed by governments and health organisations.

GBV causes a host of health problems that further strains health systems’ resources, limits women’s growth and productivity, impedes the well-being of families and communities.

It also hinders governments from achieving national goals related to health and women’s advancement. (NAN)

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