Zorzor, Lofa County – On Wednesday, February 7, 2024, in the afternoon, the United Nations Food Program Assistant Deputy Representative, Leonard Kamugisha, and Partner Plan International turned over a Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) one-stop-shop center screening facility to the administration of Curran Lutheran Hospital in Zorzor, Lofa County.
By Garma Lomo, Contributing Writer
The facility consists of two screening rooms, a storeroom with bathrooms, and a waiting area equipped with a television.
Speaking during the turnover ceremony at Curran Lutheran Hospital in Zorzor, Tarnue Kabbar, Head of Programs at Plan International, mentioned that the construction of the building posed challenges. Mr. Kabbar emphasized his organization’s commitment to combating violence in all its forms in the country, particularly in areas with high violations of the rights of girl children.
“The head of programs at Plan International further revealed that they are glad to fighting violence in the country, equality and inclusion.”
He stated that the facility is one of twenty-seven facilities they have worked on with UNFPA over the past years to document SGBV cases in the County.
In a special remark made by the UNFPA Deputy Representative, Mr. Leonard Kamugisha urged the hospital administration, headed by Dr. Amani Seraphin, to provide family planning services. He acknowledged the hospital’s comprehensive package of services, which include maternal health and services for survivors of violence, expressing hope that family planning services would also be included.
Furthermore, he outlined UNFPA’s goals: eliminating maternal deaths, promoting the use of family planning, and eliminating gender-based violence.
Mr. Kamugisha emphasized that the new building would provide survivors with confidential screening and response, instead of being conducted in a small room where multiple patients are screened simultaneously.
“We should be cautioned to be mindful how we handle SGBV cases are treated both at the hospital and the community in order to avoid stigma,” he added.
Meanwhile, Dr. Amani Seraphin, the Medical Director of Curran Hospital, expressed gratitude to UNFPA and Plan International for their initiative. Dr. Seraphin emphasized that the new building would greatly assist them, as SGBV survivors were previously screened in a small room within the hospital, often in the presence of others, causing embarrassment.
Dr. Seraphin outlined the challenges of handling SGBV cases when they exceed the hospital’s capacity, noting that some cases come with complications such as fistula.
He appealed to UNFPA, Plan International, and other partners to support the SGBV section to ease some of the burdens they face, expressing readiness to collaborate with them moving forward.