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Should female community health volunteers (FCHVs) facilitate a response to gender-based violence (GBV)? A mixed methods exploratory study in Mangalsen, Nepal.

Authors
  • Betron, Myra1
  • Thapa, Anil2
  • Amatya, Roshani2
  • Thapa, Kusum1
  • Arlotti-Parish, Elizabeth1
  • Schuster, Anne1
  • Bhattarai, Jona2
  • Limbu, Sandhya2
  • Chiweshe, Malvern Tatenda3
  • Rishal, Poonam4
  • Dhital, Rolina5
  • 1 Jhpiego, Washington, DC, USA.
  • 2 Jhpiego, Lalitpur, Nepal. , (Nepal)
  • 3 Critical Studies in Sexualities and Reproduction, Rhodes University, Makhanda, South Africa. , (South Africa)
  • 4 Dhulikhel Hospital, Kathmandu University Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal. , (Nepal)
  • 5 Health Action and Research Lazimpat, Kathmandu, Nepal. , (Nepal)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Global Public Health
Publisher
Informa UK (Taylor & Francis)
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2021
Volume
16
Issue
10
Pages
1604–1617
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/17441692.2020.1839929
PMID: 33186506
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

ABSTRACTAs part of a multisectoral response to gender-based violence (GBV), Nepal is testing the feasibility of having female community health volunteers (FCHVs) play a formal role in identifying GBV survivors and referring them to specialised services at health facilities. This study followed 116 FHCVs in Mangalsen municipality who attended a one-day orientation on GBV. Over the following year, data were collected from knowledge and attitude assessments of FCHVs, focus group discussions with FCHVs, and members of Mothers' Groups for Health. Most Significant Change stories were collected from FCHVs, in-depth interviews with stakeholders, and service statistics. Results show that the FCHVs' knowledge increased, attitudes changed, and confidence in addressing GBV grew. During the study period, FCHVs identified 1,253 GBV survivors and referred 221 of them to health facilities. In addition to assisting GBV survivors, FCHVs worked to prevent GBV by mediating conflicts and curbing harmful practices such as menstrual isolation. Stakeholders viewed FCHVs as a sustainable resource for identifying and referring GBV survivors to services, while women trusted them and looked to them for help. Results show that, with proper training and safety mechanisms, FCHVs can raise community awareness about GBV, facilitate support for survivors, and potentially help prevent harmful practices.

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