Malawi President Joyce Banda on Monday opened the One Stop Centre at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre.
The centre funded by the British Department for International Department (DFID), will carter for victimized women and children.
President Banda said the “One Stop Centre’’ concept emerges from the need to provide an integrated and holistic approach to ensure that survivors of sexual or physical abuse are able to access all required services in the continuum of care at one place.
“I have been informed that the survivors will access medical, psychosocial, counseling, self-esteem, lifesaving and shortly economic empowerment support in a coordinated manner which is quite commendable,” said the Malawi leader.
Banda said she was deeply concerned that a 2008 National Study by the National Statistical Office found out that one in four women in Malawi has been subjected to some form of gender based violence.
“As you know am personally committed to ending gender based violence, that is why in 2006 as minister of Gender and Child Welfare, I championed the passing of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Bill. It is therefore my governments wish to eliminate violence in the country,” said President Banda.
According to Justice Edward Twea, National Chairman of Juvenile Justice Court, the centre will bring together all the service providers from health, gender, social and community services, police, judiciary and civil society organization to work as a team in assisting the survivors of Gender Based Violence.
“Before the establishment of the centre, victims had to go through 13 to 15 steps to have their issues addressed and to make it worse they had to face humiliation along the process to access justice.
In fact, the process was unnecessarily too long. But now they will be assisted at once as the centre has the Police, Counselors and Clinicians under one roof,” said Justice Twea adding that the other stages in the previous system were not even child or woman friendly.
In her remarks, head of DFID in Malawi Sarah Sanyahumbi said her organization is committed to helping Malawi government in fighting gender based violence in Malawi.
Sanyahumbi noted that many times issues of Gender based violence are economically related. She urged the Malawi government to economically empower women so that they can speak against violence.
Unicef country representative, Mahimbo Mdoe said OSC is one of the values of existence for his organization.
He noted with concern that most of the GBV in the country is being perpetrated by family members who were supposed to protect the victims.
In her sentiments, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, Anitta Kalinde disclosed that her ministry plans to establish close to 17 centers countrywide with an intention of making the services more convenient to the people.
Malawi has two OSCs that are operational in Zomba and Blantyre with others in Lilongwe and Mzuzu to open soon.
The Blantyre OSC records close to 30 cases on monthly basis.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :