The Women at Risk International Foundation, WARIF is set to launch its new initiative in partnership with the ACT Foundation called The Gatekeepers Initiative.
This project aims to eradicate gender based violence in the rural areas through traditional birth attendants (TBA), also known as traditional midwives or community midwives. These are women who are regarded as pregnancy and childbirth care specialists and provide the majority of primary maternity care in many developing countries based on their experience and knowledge acquired informally through the traditions and practices of the communities where they originated.
TBA’s are the first choice when it comes to healthcare for expectant mothers, women and their children in the rural areas as they are considered trusted members of their communities and are held in high regard. In addition, misconceptions held about primary health care centres such as death from caesarean sections, harsh and unsympathetic treatment from nurses and staff and exorbitant hospital fees contribute to TBAs being the primary health providers to these women.
With the high incidence of rape and sexual violence in these rural areas, a community-based approach to providing education and care to survivors is necessary. The consequences of this violence is seen with an increased risk in the rate of new cases of HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. More often than not, TBA’s are ill-equipped to prevent and treat such cases.
With the assistance of the grant from the ACT Foundation and the WARIF’s Gatekeeper’s Initiative; WARIF is set to tackle this through this education and training initiative – to recognize the signs and provide services that aid in the treatment and prevention of Gender Based Violence that occurs frequently in their communities.