Private hospitals within Coast Province have been urged to provide healthcare services to victims of sexually based violence(SBV).
According to a senior official in the Provincial Directo of medical services office,Dr Jenniffer Othigo,many private hospials shy away from offering the services because of the legalities and at times compleixites of the cases.
“ They turn away such patients at their doorstep because of the hospital policies even without caring to give basic first aid,” she said
Dr Othigo noted that many of the private hospitals were in a capacity to offer the best health care services to victims of rape, sodomy and defilement.
“These hospitals are well equipped,have competent staff and are able to secure donor funding easily.So it is not difficult for them to offer such services,” said she.
She added that the increase in sexual based violence cases within the region necessitated the need for an increase in provision of health care services.
“Private hospitals will be able to offer better care to the victims and this will reduce the crowding seen in most public hospitals and ensure provision of better quality of services across the board,” she said.
Othigo decried that a lot of time was lost as patients shuttled between private hospitals before they were reffered to public hospitals.
“The first 24 hours of health care for a sexually based violence victim determines whether or not the victim will survive and as such they should be able to acces the services anywhere,” she said
She revelead that the Coast General refferal hospital had registered 1076 defilement cases,406 rape cases and 311 sodomy cases of persons aged two years and above between 2007 and August 2011.
She further challenged private hospitals to provide the services for free in order to make them accessible to the common man.
“It will beat logic to have the services charged,they would do better in offering them for free on a more humnitarian basis,” she said.
She revealed that many of the victims did not accces health care services for fear of being stigmatised and having private hospitals offering such services would go along way in reducing social stigma.
“Many cases of rape and defilement are reported to the Nairobi women’s hospital because victims are assured of quality health services and it is time we do the same for the coastal region,” added Dr Othigo.