EMPOWERED to Tackle GBV Among AGYW In Phalombe: 136 health care workers in Phalombe undergo training of trainers in Gender-Based Violence

Malawi EMPOWER Project on 30th November 2022 awarded 21 health care workers with certificates after completing the training of trainers in Gender-Based Violence (GBV). The training targeted the health care workers (clinicians, HIV Diagnostic Assistants, Nurses) who work with Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) in Phalombe district on GBV, SRH and HIV. Phalombe became the third district of implementation for the Malawi EMPOWER Project in October 2022 after the District Executive Committee approved it to expand into the district.. The other two districts are Zomba and Machinga.

Malawi EMPOWER Chief of Party Dr. Boniface Maket highlighted that the training aimed to enhance capacity of the health care workers in identifying and responding to GBV which affects AGYW; increases their vulnerability to HIV risk; decreases testing uptake and HIV status disclosure, and impacts ART/PREP initiation and adherence.

“I would like to urge all of you to demonstrate and put to full use the skills you have acquired, particularly on how to identify, screen and respond to GBV according to the principles of violence prevention and response for you to assist victims of GBV effectively,” he said.

The certificates were handed over to participants by Malawi EMPOWER Chief of Party Dr. Boniface Maket and Phalombe District Medical Officer Dr. Leonard Naphazi. Both Dr. Maket and Dr. Naphazi congratulated the participants upon completing the training successfully.

Dr. Naphazi said that the training was timely since cases of GBV are rampant in the district. He therefore urged all the participants to utilize the skills and knowledge gained from the training to respond to GBV which is a critical barrier to reaching HIV epidemic control.

“If us health care workers effectively utilize the knowledge and skills gained during this training, we will surely contribute to the GBV response in the district.  I therefore urge you all to take part in this response in order to create safe space for both men and women,” said Dr Naphazi.

Speaking on behalf of the participants, Mwandida Matimati thanked Malawi EMPOWER Project for knowledge and skills the participants gained during the three-day training.

Certificate presentation
Mwandida receiving her training certificate

 “The sessions were so informative and educative. We have been challenged and enlightened to understand our role in responding to GBV against AGYW,” she said

Another participant, Mcloud Lysan, said the training enabled him to acquire innovative knowledge and skills in handling GBV survivors using the first-line support (LIVES) model.

“I’m now conversant with the LIVES model which is effective in managing GBV cases. The model entails providing a listening ear to a client; inquiring the needs of a client; validating the information provided by a client; enhance safety of a client; and providing the necessary support to the client. I will surely use this model when assisting the victims of GBV in the district,” he said.

Training session in progress
Training session in progress

The training was held back-to-back with a similar orientation targeting a total of 115 health surveillance assistants (HAS) and community midwives who interact with AGYW at club and community level. The HSAs play a critical role at the community level in identifying and responding to GBV through their interactions with AGYW.

In its implementation in Phalombe, EMPOWER is building on the successes registered in Zomba and Machinga to ensure that targeted AGYW have access to high quality SRH/HIV integration services including post GBV clinical and non-clinical services based on the project’s minimum package. The minimum package consists of HTC Screening, GBV screening, STI screening, Risk reduction counselling, PrEP, SRH and condom information.

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