The United Nations and partners turned over the Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) one stop shop center screening facility to the administration of the Curran Lutheran Hospital on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, in Zorzor, Lofa County.
The facility contains two screening rooms, including a store room with bathrooms and a waiting room with a television.
Speaking during the turning over ceremony at the Curran Lutheran hospital in Zorzor, Plan International Program Officer, Tarnue Kabbar, said the construction of the building was challenging, adding that his organization is committed to fighting against violence of all forms in the country.
“Where there are high violations of the rights of the girl child, we will be present and be there for them,” the Head of Programs said, disclosing that his organization is glad to join the fight against violence in the country, thereby promoting equality and inclusion.
He said the facility is just one of the 27 facilities they have been working in with UNFPA over the past years to document SGBV cases in the county.
For his part, the Food Program Assistant Deputy Representative, Leonard Kamugisha, urged the hospital administration, headed by Amani Seraphin, to provide family planning and other medical services to their survivors and treat them with utmost care, respect, and dignity.
He said, while it is true that the hospital provides comprehensive package services which include maternal health and services to survivors of violence, he hopes that the facility will include family planning services as well.
Kamugisha described the elimination of maternal deaths, the provision of family planning, and the fight against SGBV, as some of the goals of UNFPA.
The UNFPA Deputy Representative disclosed that the building will help survivors have confidential screening and response, instead of being done in a small screening room where two or more patients were screened.
“We should be mindful how SGBV cases are treated both at the hospital and the community, in order to avoid stigma,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Curran Hospital medical Director, Amani Seraphin, lauded the UNFPA family and Plan International for such an initiative, claiming that the building is a great help to them.
“Because SGBV survivors used to be screened in a small room within the hospital with more than two survivors being screened in the present of others, which was embarrassing,” said Seraphin.
He added that they are working to put systems in place on how to make sure to avoid stigma, and outlined challenges on how to handle SGBV cases when it goes beyond the limits, noting that some SGBV cases come with complications, including fistula and others.
Seraphin told the UNFPA and Plan International families that most often, when cases of SGBV go beyond limits, they as hospital administrators take the responsibilities with limited resources or funding.
Meanwhile, Seraphin used that medium to call on UNFPA, Plan International, and other partners, to help the SGBV section in that direction to ease some of the burden on them as he looks forward working with them.