Health services are important in responding to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and protecting women's health rights. Yet, healthcare workers in public health institutions, most of whom are women, are likely to experience high levels of workplace violence themselves.
With the support of Joint Gender Fund, the LRS Gender Programme in partnership with Gender at Work and the trade union, Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (HOSPERSA), piloted an institutionally-based gender action learning for collective impact approach at Meadowlands Clinic in Soweto, Gauteng Province.
That intervention sought to develop strategies for addressing gender-based violence in the health care system with a focus on the violence experienced by healthcare workers inside the facility and the violence experienced by particularly women visiting healthcare facilities.
The Meadowlands Clinic Pilot Project brought together the different actors involved in the health system in one locality to take up actions that will collectively impact on reducing the high levels of GBV.
The pilot project found a volatile mixture of GBV survivors seeking healthcare support and finding angry, disillusioned healthcare workers working under unsafe and hostile conditions.
Participants who were involved in the pilot project are now sharing what they learnt in a way that inspires and supports efforts to address GBV in the health system more broadly.
The LRS is supporting HOSPERSA to start similar projects in other institutions. We will also support efforts of a local district health forum to establish a sustainable GBV program.