The Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) Health Services in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have set up a One-Stop-Shop for survivors of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the Northwest Region.
The One-Stop-Shop, which is first of its kind in the region, is a good practice in service-delivery which involves bringing together services in one location, especially to domestic and sexual violence survivors who are often in need of holistic care.
Josephine Nsono, Child Protection Officer and Gender-Based expert says the One-Stop-Shop will house medical, psychosocial, mental health and legal services. “At the medical service, emergency contraceptives and post-exposure prophylaxis will be administered to survivors of sexual violence to make sure they don’t end up with HIV (Human Immune Virus) and other related concerns. The social work service will provide psychological and psychosocial support, while the legal service is there to ensure that survivors access justice as well as bring perpetrators to book,” she explained.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Sexual and other forms of gender-based violence are increasingly reported in situations of complex emergencies involving political instability and armed conflicts”.
Pamela Njume, Gender-Based Violence expert at UNPFA Northwest says the crisis in the region has led to an untold increase in the cases of GBV, necessitating immediate actions and urgent response. “So this One-Stop Shop is one of the response actions to the alarming rates of GBV while helping survivors to seek available services. This will go a long away to help them to come out of the difficult experiences and develop positive coping mechanisms to live a normal life in the society,” she said.
“Besides the crisis, the enclave nature of some localities in the region further exposes vulnerable groups such as women, persons with disabilities and children to various forms of abuse. Therefore, the One-Stop-Shop is indeed a stitch in time,” detailed Pamela.
“The term, “Sexual and other forms of gender-based violence comprises not only rape and attempted rape but also sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, forced early marriage, domestic violence, marital rape, trafficking, and female genital mutilation,” says WHO.
In a litany of speeches at the launch of One-Stop-Shop, Mr. Wirba Assan, Northwest Regional Delegate of Women’s Empowerment and the Family said the initiative is laudable. “This is going to be a safe place for GBV survivors undergoing pain to have solace, thanks to the kind of care that will be offered here”. He saluted the collaboration between government, UNFPA and the CBC Health Services in promoting and protecting the plight of the vulnerable population.
Rebecca Atemkeng, Regional Delegate of Social Affairs, on her part, commended the CBC Health Services and UNFPA for making resources available to set up the One-Stop-Shop, which will address the GBV situation in the region. She pledged her unflinching support to the initiative in a bid to keep GBV under control.
The uniqueness of the One-Stop-Shop is an accommodating space for survivors in life-threatening conditions to rest while the legal staff processes a restraint. The Space located at UP Station in Bamenda can accommodate the survivor for three days while competent services are being sought.
Mr. Wango Barnabas, Assistant Administrator at the Director of CBC Health Services’ Office speaking on behalf of the Director of Health Services appreciated UNFPA for making funds available for the One-Stop-Shop. “This will go a long way to restore the dignity of survivors who often are objects of scorn and rejection in their communities after being violated upon,” he said,”
It is worth stating that UNFPA is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, with principal mission to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.