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Engaging the Health Care Providers to respond to VAW: A virtual workshop of NHM & CEHAT – Karnataka

CEHAT is engaging the health sector to become responsive to the issue of Violence Against Women and Children-VAW/C. Such an engagement is underway in 7 states. An important initiative has taken roots in the State of Karnataka with a statewide orientation on the ‘Role of Counsellors in responding to Violence Against Women and Children to the NHM counselors. This was the first activity in developing a comprehensive Health Sector response to violence against women and children through the health system in the state.

The two hours online orientation was facilitated by CEHAT, relayed from Vikasa Soudha NIC (National Informatics Centre) facility and was attended by the counsellors across 31 districts of Karnataka through their district’s NIC facility. The Karnataka National Health Mission Director- Dr. Arundhathi Chandrasekhar welcomed the participants and stressed on the critical support a health care provider can offer in their role as clinicians in supporting women and children who are experiencing violence. Ms. Vandita Sharma- Additional Chief Secretary and Development Commissioner of GoK, further stressed on the need for a comprehensive support mechanism through the various Ministries - MoWCD, MoHFW, MoRD, MoE and integrating the efforts through the their respective programs. Mr. Jawaid Akhtar, Additional Chief Secretary to GoK, Health & Family Services spoke about this critical requirement especially during the COVID times. Addressing the group was also Mr. Pankaj Kumar Pandey- Commissionerate, Health & Family Welfare Service & AYUSH services GoK.

The two-hour orientation focused on

  1. The Role of Health Sector in Violence in VAW/C
  2. Recognising Signs & Symptoms
  3. WHO’s LIVES approach to VAW.

It was conducted by Dr. Jagadeesh Reddy, Prof & HOD- Forensic Medicine, Vydehi Institute of Medical Sciences & Research Center, Bangalore and Prarthana Appaiah from CEHAT in the local language- Kannada. A film by ICRW sensitizing on the critical need for social support to empower women facing IPV or DV and a WHO film on a pilot study conducted by CEHAT in a hospital setting offering psycho social support were also part of the session.

This is a primer to development of a health system response to VAW in the state of Karnataka and the health department is keen to initiate it early next year.

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