31 August 2021 – WHO, in collaboration with the Department of Health of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, conducted a training course (24–26 August) on gender-based violence for health workers, focusing on providing life-saving health care, psycho-social support, and referral pathways in the COVID-19 context. The training was attended by medical officers, head nurses and Lady Health Workers, and representatives of civil society organizations, UN Women and the United Nations Population Fund.
"Pakistan needs a multisectoral approach to prevent and respond to violence against women. We need to put greater effort into providing comprehensive services, sensitizing and training health care providers in responding to the needs of survivors, holistically and empathetically," said Dr Palitha Mahipala, WHO Representative in Pakistan.
Violence against women is a major public health problem and a violation of women's human rights. Estimates published by WHO indicate that globally about 1 in 3 (30%) of women worldwide have been subjected to either physical or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. Violence against women is preventable. The health sector has a vital role in providing comprehensive health care to women subjected to violence, and as an entry point for referring women to other support services they may need.
In his closing remarks, Dr Palitha Mahipala reiterated the effects of gender-based violence on the physical, psychological, sexual, and reproductive health of survivors. He said that the training would go a long way in integrating care for survivors off gender-based violence into routine health services.
Dr Abbas Khan (Department of Health of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) commended WHO for its support in strengthening human resources for health in south Waziristan.