CHALLENGES ABUSE VICTIMS FACE AT HOSPITALS: MINISTER
RESEARCH REPORT ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN POLITICS IN FIJI, PNG, SOLOMON ISLANDS LAUNCHED Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete highlights ways medical personnel can detect abused women who are not able to be straight forward about their situation
Victims of domestic violence are showing up in hospitals and are not able to be straight forward with the situation that they are faced with, says Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete. The Minister for Health and Medical Services said this was a common occurrence in hospitals around the country.
He made the statement while officiating at the launch of a qualitative research report on violence against women in politics in Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. “While serving as a surgeon and as a medical superintendent, I have encountered patients and have encouraged medical staff to be well aware of the signs of a woman who may be trying to reach out to medical services from an abuse position,” he said.
“The signs that could help us identify these issues were frequent visits to the emergency department by victims with bumps and bruises and a history of falling over or being accident prone.
“Another sign was when a woman was always having her partner around and having him answer questions for her.” He said the Domestic Violence Act has enabled both the women and the men to deal with violence and perpetrators of violence.
“With this Act, the duty of care for a medical practitioner who is looking after women and children is to be able to alert authorities if they feel violence has been instigated against women and children,” he said.
“It’s so important that we continue to do that so we understand that it is unacceptable to be violent both physically and sexually towards our woman. “In 2019, 10 women died from domestic violence and that does not include the many that have been traumatised with domestic violence and seen in the hospitals, health centres all throughout Fiji and also those that have been admitted in hospitals.
“As for today, it is about encouraging women in areas of leadership and one of the areas of leadership is politics.” He added that within the ministry, up to 70 per cent of that staff were women and a great majority of them were in areas of leadership.
“I am very proud of them and they are my subordinates who give me important advice and one of the reasons we are COVID-contained is because of the advice that they give the Government,” he said.
“The platform has been laid for them in terms of merit recruitment; these women are able to challenge the old norm by being very well educated and being able to secure leadership positions.”