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New Program in Tanzania Aims to Respond to and Reduce Gender Based Violence
The Southern Highlands region of Tanzania experiences one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the country. The epidemic in this area is fueled in part by a societal acceptance of gender-based violence, which limits a woman’s ability to negotiate safe sexual practices. In Mbeya specifically, more than 67% of women have experienced some form of partner violence, which is higher compared to the statistics reported for Tanzania overall and nearly double the rate reported in the U.S.
To address gender issues, MHRP’s site in Tanzania, the Walter Reed Program, initiated a comprehensive Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Violence Against Children program in collaboration with the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
The program, supported by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), aims to increase the availability, quality and utilization of GBV services as well as to reduce the societal acceptance of GBV. The 18-month pilot project will deliver interrelated intervention components at the health facility and community levels with the help of eight implementing community partners. The components of the comprehensive program include:
- Facility-based services for GBV survivors;
- Facility-based screening and referral in clinical settings;
- Clinic and community outreach;
- Community-based GBV prevention activities; and
- Referrals to psychosocial support, legal services and safe houses.
In addition to local partners, the project is also working with other PEPFAR-supported international organizations to deliver the interventions with the goal of reaching nearly 64,000 people throughout the pilot phase of the project.
PEPFAR is in its second year of a GBV response initiative in three African countries including Tanzania. Additionally, PEPFAR is currently conducting an in-depth evaluation examining the effectiveness and overall impact of these interventions in the Mbeya area.