Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Principal Secretary, Dr. Esmie Kainja, has described Mangochi District Council as a model in the administration of One-Stop Centre (OSC) services to victims of violence.
Kainja made the declaration on Tuesday when she led a National Task Team in a two-day joint monitoring visit to Mangochi District Hospital and Malombe Health Centre to appreciate the institution’s OSC services to victims of gender based violence.
The OSC National Task Team first paid a courtesy call to the District Commissioner, Rev. Moses Chimphepo, and later had a briefing by the District OSC Task Team on the operations of the OSC services.
“I’m very impressed with what’s on the ground and the coordination between the health office and all sectors participating in the OSC services,” explained Kainja during the briefing, adding: “Mangochi is a fertile learning ground; it is so rich and unique, especially in the sense that the council is able to initiate funds for running the OSCs.”
The PS learned during the briefing that Mangochi District Hospital OSC had 42 cases of abuse including rape and defilement from October – December, 2017 and that 500 cases had been reported from 2013 to date.
Kainja observed that the statistics were appalling considering the district’s population of over one million, with women and girls being in majority.
But she was quick to point out that the statistics could also mean that the society was opening up and reporting cases of gender-based violence to authorities for action.
Among the challenges that came up during the briefing was withdrawing of gender based violence cases by victims. The other was that victims and witnesses fear to testify before court.
But Kainja said her ministry was aware of the challenges and that they were putting a legal mechanism in place to ensure that serious cases such as rape, defilement, and battering are monitored to the very end.
Out of the 42 health facilities, Mangochi has two OSCs only but the district will soon have a spacious centre at the district hospital and seven more centres across the district courtesy of the Icelandic International Development Agency (ICEIDA)’s MK7.1 billion Mangochi Basic Services Project (MBSP).
The District OSC task team comprises the police, social welfare office, gender office, judiciary and health as the leading sector and it works with community structures in all the district’s traditional authorities.