Friday, 14 June, 2024
HomeNews ReleaseSASOG calls on its members to observe five days of mourning

SASOG calls on its members to observe five days of mourning

As we mourn the tragedy of those who have lost their lives to South Africa’s dual pandemics of COVID-19 and gender based violence (GBV), the South African Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (SASOG) calls on its membership and all South Africans to show their solidarity through the wearing of black or a black armband over the next 5 days.

The global Covid-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the vulnerability of women who have been forced into lockdown with their abusers.  In what President Cyril Ramaphosa described in May as a war on women declared by the men of our country,  a woman is murdered every three hours in South Africa.  SASOG condemns all discrimination, harassment or violence based on gender or vulnerability.  The Society also calls upon its members and all other health professionals to commit themselves to action against GBV.  For Obstetricians and Gynaecologists,  this means a commitment to adopt the guidelines published by the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) for routine screening of patients for intimate partner violence (IPV).

These guidelines include assuring patients that the discussion will be confidential; providing a safe setting for the screening to take place; where possible, using professional language interpreters; and providing take-home resource material.

Professor Greta Dreyer, Chair of SASOG says that GBV has far reaching consequences for women and the communities they live in.  According to research, an estimated 16% of all HIV infections in women could be prevented if they did not experience domestic violence from their partners and over a third of women who have been raped develop post-traumatic stress disorder, which if left untreated can lead to depression, suicide and substance abuse.

“As doctors, it is incumbent on us to be aware of the signs and symptoms of GBV so that we are able to provide services which both protect the vulnerable and contribute towards a healthier society”, concludes Dreyer.

Issued by SASOG

About SASOG:

SASOG was formed in 1946 and is a representative organisation for the majority of obstetricians and gynaecologists in South Africa both in the private and the public health sectors.

SASOG’s vision:  Excellence and equity in women’s health.

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