206918 Gender-based violence and HIV: Engaging communities to combat the problem in Northern Uganda

Monday, November 9, 2009

Florence Aliba , NUMAT, Gulu, Uganda
Issues: GBV is a strong contributing factor to rising HIV transmission rates; a majority of survivors of GBV are women and girls because of the underlying gender inequality that puts them at a disadvantaged position. Northern Uganda Malaria AIDS and TB (NUMAT) Programme undertakes a strategy of tackling gender inequality and is helping communities to address the link between HIV transmission and GBV by increasing awareness and strengthening services.

Description: In nine districts in Northern Uganda, communities identify “animators” who are trained to educate communities on GBV prevention and how to refer cases for medical, psychosocial and legal support. Focus group discussions are conducted at various levels to assess people's knowledge, attitudes and practices with results indicating that women and girls remain vulnerable to GBV and the need to strengthen services to prevent and respond to GBV.

Lessons learnt: NUMAT has so far reached 61,012 people, by engaging some as trainers and animators, holding leaders' workshops, promoting group discussions, drama and dialogues. The most common factor identified by this community to contribute to SGBV is alcohol abuse. The most common forms of SGBV reported to community animators were domestic violence (108 cases) and defilement (48 cases); majority of them were referred for relevant services.

Recommendations: GBV issues are usually treated as a private matter regardless of their connection with HIV. People engaged in SGBV activities however tend to open up. General gender issues should also be considered in the community as well for a more effective prevention of GBV.

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate the links between HIV infection and gender-based violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am working as a gender-based violence specialist for World Vision under a HIV control programme
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.