New National Action Plan for the Response to Gender-Based Violence of the Ministry of Health in force until 2022

The aim is to strengthen prevention and offer victims an integrated, humanized and better quality care service.

45.5% of Mozambican women between the ages of 15 and 49 have already been victims of some form of violence at some point in their lives.

Despite being a universal right, the right to health is often called into question by issues of Gender Based Violence (GBV). In the words of Her Ex., Former Health Minister, Nazira Abdula, “Gender Based Violence appears as one of the important Social Determinants of Health that negatively affects the health outcomes defined by the Government of Mozambique and the World Health Organization. Being a Public Health problem, it also has profound and negative impacts on education and the country's economy”.

Data from IDS (2011) indicate that 45.5% of Mozambican women between 15 and 49 years old have already been victims of some form of violence at some point in their lives. This prevalence varies according to the region, with a higher incidence in urban areas. Combating GBV is therefore at the top of national priorities and is the basis for a four-year plan (2019-2022) created to reduce its frequency, severity and impact in the country.

The so-called “National Action Plan for Responding to Gender-Based Violence in the Health Sector” is implemented by the Ministry of Health, but involves all actors in society who are called upon to work together to defend the right to health. The Plan aims to provide all health professionals at central, provincial and district levels, implementing partners, civil society, communities and other stakeholders of the multisectoral mechanism, with guidelines that contribute to the creation of a standardized system of prevention and support to access health care and treatment of GBV victims.

This Action Plan is based on a fundamental premise: to perceive GBV as a phenomenon that constitutes a medical emergency and that, as such, makes it essential to develop preventive actions and improve the service provided to victims, so that it can start to function in an integrated, humanized manner and with higher quality. Thus, and accompanying this Plan, an important instrument for measuring performance and improving the quality of post-violence care provided in the health units of MISAU was also created.

Another 60 strategic actions were defined to be implemented over four years. In terms of prevention, the Plan contemplates community mobilization, awareness and education on the causes of Gender Based Violence, the dissemination of messages that promote gender equality, and the strengthening of the role and responsibility of Community Leaders in prevention and immediate victims reference to the available care services.

Special emphasis is also placed on strengthening governance bodies with a view to formulating and implementing public policies, intra and multisectoral coordination and budget allocation for GBV prevention and mitigation actions. Ensuring in-service training of health professionals in GBV, increasing access and availability of health services, at all levels, and improving the epidemiological surveillance system are some of the main lines of action of this Action Plan.

The damage, injuries, traumas and deaths caused by violence have high economic, emotional and social costs for the health of families. With this Action Plan, it is intended that the National Health Service will no longer limit itself to receiving and caring for injuries caused by aggressions, but also to preventing the occurrence of violence and thereby reducing expenses with emergency, assistance, rehabilitation and required medical procedures.

Published on 10/03/2020