Despite the modernization of health practices and facilities over the years, statistics show that the majority of children in Nigeria are born by traditional birth attendants (TBAs) especially in rural areas.
These birth attendants also provide care not only during the prenatal and postnatal period of the mothers they take care of, but are likely to be the first point of contact should a case of gender based violence arise in the communities they serve.
Gender Based Violence (GBV) includes physical assault, sexual assault, rape, psychological torture and domestic violence. Women and girls are blamed for provoking GBV and in turn are ashamed and afraid of reporting these incidents to the police or going to the hospital to get checked. As TBAs are trusted members of the community, they are likely to confide in TBAs hence the name ‘’Gatekeepers’’
The Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF) with the support of the Aspire Coronation Trust Foundation is set to reduce the rate of GBV with their new Gatekeepers initiative and have recently commenced the baseline survey in selected Local Government Communities in Lagos State.
The foundation seeks to train TBA’s to recognize the signs of sexual abuse against expectant mothers and affected women. This training will equip them with the right skills to attend to these women immediately and also offer the option of a referral to the WARIF rape crisis centre.