A One-Day workshop, organised by the Ministry of Health and Wellness in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family Welfare, focusing on Gender Based Violence (GBV), kickstarted this morning at the Gold Crest Hotel, Quatre-Bornes.
The Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Jagutpal and the Minister of Gender Equality and Family Welfare, Mrs Kalpana Devi Koonjoo-Shah, were present on the occasion.
In his keynote address, Minister Jagutpal stated that around some 24% of women in Mauritius have experienced some form of GBV at some point in time, whether it is physical or psychological, and that in 2020 more than 87% of all GBV victims were found to be women. He affirmed that GBV is of great concern to the Government, but to tackle this issue, a change of mindset and attitude towards women is key.
In addition, the Health Minister urged GBV victims to voice out against their abusers, while recalling that the 139 Hotline along with the online service DOVIS to report cases of domestic violence, and the mobile app L’Espwar, are available.
Dr Kailesh Jagutpal also announced that his Ministry will sign with the Gender Ministry and the Mauritius Police Force, a National Protocol on GBV for the Republic of Mauritius to help coordinate efforts and offer an integrated response, in terms of reporting, protection, care, support, prevention and management.
The aim, he added, is to enhance the systemic responses so as to streamline procedures and to have a fast-track system to attend to victims.
The Minister renewed the commitment of public health institutions to provide to suspected GBV victims with both health care and wellness.
As for Minister Kalpana Devi Koonjoo-Shah, she underlined that violence against women is a persistent problem and GBV has, unfortunately, greater impacts on women and girls than men and boys. She recalled that women constitute up to 52% of the country’s population, and emphasised that it is therefore crucial to address this social illness in order to tap into our biggest human capital.
She dwelt on the impacts of this scourge, namely the consequential strain on our resources, health system due to the multiple health problems that are generated. This, she observed, limits the growth and productivity of women, in turn affecting the wellbeing of family, community, society and country at large.
Furthermore, the Minister stated that the development and implementation targeted actions to prevent, reduce and combat GBV, has always been a top priority of Government and pointed out that the High-Level Committee for the elimination of GBV is a testimony of the level of commitment of Government to eliminate this scourge.
The Workshop aims to foster understand of GBV among healthcare professionals, and help them identify GBV as well as to grasp the roles of different stakeholders involved and related legislations.
The topics discussed include: GBV legislations, health impact and clinical care for GBV survivors, psychological support to GBV victims, role of medical social worker, among others.