Helping healthcare professionals identify and support survivors of gender-based violence

30 May 2018

Strengthening the response of health sector to gender-based violence was the focus of the seminar held by UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund. 

The purpose of the meeting was to sensitize the specialists of the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Turkmenistan about importance, benefits and challenges of the multi-sectoral response (MSR) to gender-based violence (GBV).  Healthcare services as an entry point for addressing gender-based violence was at the center of the discussion.

Ms. Ionela Horga, Regional Coordinator of the East European Institute for Reproductive Health, a partner organization of the UNFPA Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA), together with Ms. Nurgul Kinderbaeva, UNFPA Gender Programme specialist from Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Office led the discussion and presented the guiding principles and functions of the multi-sectoral response, as well as the standard operating procedures for healthcare professionals to address gender-based violence.

Violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world. It knows no social, economic or national boundaries. Worldwide, an estimated one in three women will experience physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime.

Multi-sectoral response means coordinated approach

Multi-sectoral response, in other words a collaborative and coordinated approach, is needed to address gender-based violence, which brings together several key sectors, including the police, the legal and justice system, social services and health.

A multi-sectoral response to gender-based violence leads to increased level of support for GBV victims through an effective, immediate and consistent network of services. It leads to durable and sustainable changes and help to create an institutional and community culture where gender-based violence is not acceptable and tolerated.

Why start with health services?

Health services are among the first places survivors of abuse seek assistance. As the lead UN agency working on sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, UNFPA supports the government partners to build and strengthen existing health system to reach the affected women and girls, develop prevention strategies and provide referrals to other systems.

Most women – even in remote areas – are likely to seek family planning or maternal health services at least once in their lifetimes, making health care a critical entry point for violence-related information and assistance. 

“Within the framework of the Joint Global Programme, the United Nations launched a set of Global Standards and Essential Services Package for Women and Girls subject to violence for health professionals, social services, police and justice sector,” said Ms. Bayramgul Garabayeva, UNFPA Turkmenistan Assistant Representative. “UNFPA is pleased to support the Government of Turkmenistan in adapting the standard procedures for health professionals to the national needs.” 



For additional information, please contact

Bayramgul Garabayeva, UNFPA Assistant Representative

Ene Tuyliyeva, Advocacy Communication Associate

Tel: 488325