230980 Child sexual abuse in sub-Saharan Africa: A silent social and health emergency

Monday, November 8, 2010

Odiyo Odongo, MD , (1) East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community, Arusha, Tanzania
Reena Borwankar, MS , Africa's Health in 2010 project, Academy for Educational Development, Washington, DC
Carol Bower, MA , LINALI Consulting Protecting Children's Rights, Nieuwoudtville 8180, South Africa
Cheikh Niang, PhD , Diop University, Dakar, Senegal
Sheillah Matinhure, MA , East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC), Arusha, Tanzania
Doreen Marandu, MS , East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community, Arusha, Tanzania
Helen Lugina, PhD , East, Central, and Southern African Health Community, Arusha, Tanzania
Sambe Duale, MD, MPH , Africa's Health in 2010 Project, Washington, DC
Doyin Oluwole, MD , Africa's Health in 2010 project, Academy for Educational Development, Washington, DC
Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a human rights issue, with significant public health consequences that negatively impact the development of children. Although the anecdotal evidence on CSA in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is extensive, few national studies have been conducted. Responding to the general lack of information on the true magnitude and spectrum of CSA in SSA, we undertook a literature and programs review to raise awareness and inform inter-sectoral policy and program responses for its prevention and management.

The review addresses CSA among boys and girls under 18 years across various settings, including home/family, schools, justice systems, and conflict situations. Methods include (i) a systematic review of peer reviewed articles and published and unpublished policy and program documents in English and French (2000-2010) and (ii) key informant interviews to identify additional resources and inputs on policy and program responses that are not documented in the literature. In Swaziland, 1 in 3 females experienced CSA, occurring most frequently in her home or that of a friend or neighbor. An average of 23% of students (13-15 years) reported exposure to sexual violence during their lifetime in surveys conducted in Namibia, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

The findings on the magnitude, determinants and consequences of CSA across SSA will be used to recommend a comprehensive inter-sectoral advocacy and program response for addressing CSA; inform the development of clinical guidelines for CSA management that is appropriate for use in the African region; and a prototype policy on gender-based violence, including CSA for countries to adapt.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the magnitude and spectrum of child sexual abuse in sub-Saharan Africa Discuss the paucity of policies and programs for prevention and management of CSA in SSA Demonstrate the importance of evidence for advocacy and policy development

Keywords: Child Abuse, Advocacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Gender, Gender-based Violence Advisor, public health practitioner working in international development for over 10 years.
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.