By Olimatou Coker
A hospital-based clinical research conducted by the Network Against Gender-Based Violence, ActionAid The Gambia and supported by Amplify Change has highlighted that Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is one of the major socio-cultural and public health problems in The Gambia.
In 2016, the WHO recommended that IPV be screened amongst pregnant women in countries that have the capabilities. It also recommended that clinical inquiry about the possibility of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) be strongly considered at antenatal care centres when assessing conditions that may be caused or complicated by IPV in order to improve clinical diagnosis and subsequent care for pregnant women.
In line with these recommendations and to unveil the prevalence of IPV amongst pregnant women in The Gambia, the NGBV and ActionAid The Gambia supported by Amplify Change commissioned hospital-based clinical research amongst pregnant women from six hospitals in The Gambia namely; EFSTH, Brikama District Hospital, Bwiam General Hospital, Soma District Hospital, Farafenni General Hospital and Basse District Hospital.
The study was conducted by Gambian doctors led by Dr Mustapha Bittaye and Dr Barrister Babanding Daffeh who were aided by other doctors and nurses. A total of 422 pregnant women of reproductive age took part in the study with an average of 70 women from each side.
According to the report, 54 percent of the pregnant women interviewed said they experienced IPV.
“It also showed that women within the middle levels of the reproductive ages experienced IPV more than the younger and older women (63%),” it said.
The report indicated that IPV is higher in Basse (80%) followed by Soma (78%) and it is lower in Farafenni 34.3%, followed by Brikama 36.3%. It also indicated that it is higher among single women (60%) compared to married women (53.7%).
The report recommended among other things for more awareness creation in communities particularly in communities around sites where IPV is higher; make it mandatory for men to attend antenatal clinics to provide care and support for pregnant women; ensure effective enforcement of laws against domestic violence and ensure the presence of husbands during labor of their wives.