You are here

Press Release

37th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria (APHPN)

Public Health Physicians Went Orange: Putting a Spotlight on Ending Violence Against Women and Girls

 

Abuja, Nigeria

The Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria (APHPN) held its 37th Annual General  Meeting and Scientific Conference from 15th -17th June 2021 in Abuja. One of the themes of this year’s conference centered 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 organizations. Gender-based violence causes a host of health problems that further strain health systems’ resources, limits women’s growth and productivity, impedes the well-being of families and communities, and hinders governments from achieving national goals related to health and women’s advancement. The impact of gender-based violence on women’s health, in particular, is well documented - It is a major cause of disability and death among women worldwide; It has adverse consequences for women’s sexual and reproductive health. Violence during pregnancy can cause serious harm to both the mother and baby. Health professionals are central to the response against Gender-based violence.

As part of the annual conference, the Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria (APHPN) in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the           EU-UN Spotlight Initiative hosted a high-level plenary session and launched the Orange the World campaign for doctors as part of efforts in amplifying the call for global and local action to end the pandemic violence, made worse by COVID-19. The high-level plenary session with the theme Strengthening Nigeria's Health System to Meet the Needs of Survivors of Gender-Based Violence and Harmful Practices: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic, had high-level panelists that cut across government, civil society, and service providers bring to the fore critical issues that need to be addressed to improve the health services for survivors of  Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria. The plenary session provided a platform for health professionals, development partners, policymakers, and advocates to reflect on gaps in the health system response to Gender-based Violence and find opportunities.

At the end of the event, the Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria (APHPN) issued a 6-point Call to Action signed by its National Chairman, Professor Benjamin S.C Uzochukwu, as follows:

 

The Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria (APHPN):

 

  1. 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
  1. 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
  2. We call on all states to put in place sex –offenders register to name and shame perpetrators and end the impunity around Gender-based Violence
  3. We call on every state government to establish and fund at least one GBV response center, and shelter in its state with government-paid staff deployed and with effective linkages to other support services that survivors may need
  4. We call for the establishment of at least one forensic lab in each geopolitical zone in the country to support the prosecution of GBV
  5. We call on the National Council on Health to declare free medical care for survivors of Gender-based Violence and assign a focal point for GBV in each

The health facility in Nigeria to help survivors navigate through health facilities promptly