As Amref Health Africa closed its Government of Canada-supported COVID-19 Response project in Ethiopia, we proudly delivered our last, but most important, intervention of this initiative – establishing an integrated One-Stop Centre for children and women who are survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.

Situated on the premises of Jinka General Hospital in the South Omo zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) of Ethiopia, the Centre provides medical treatment, psychosocial support and legal services in a coordinated manner to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. Amref Health Africa worked in close collaboration with the South Omo Health Office and Jinka General Hospital to ensure the Centre was fully equipped and staffed with relevant personnel. The One-Stop Centre helps sexually abused women and children in South Omo integrate back into their society with good physical, mental and emotional health.

South Omo zone is the most remote region in the SNNPR. (The main city, Jinka, is about 750 km southwest of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.) The region is primarily home to pastoralist (also known as nomadic) and agrarian communities; overall, the people living in the area are disadvantaged economically and lack access to social services and health care. Women and girls, in particular, are at risk of being subjected to harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and child marriage. Jinka General Hospital, which serves a population of about one million, is the only hospital in the area. Before the project began, Jinka General Hospital was providing clinical services to SBGV survivors but there were no links to legal or other services.

Banchiwosen Assefa is the gender-based violence coordinator at Jinka General Hospital. “We used to treat SGBV cases in collaboration with another unit in only one room and we focused on clinical management. With the support of the Government of Canada through Amref Health Africa, we were able to create four separate rooms to serve survivors. The project has trained individuals and provided equipment and supplies which have assisted us in providing various integrated services. Since it was built, the Centre has provided services to more than 100 cases, out of which 22 were seen in the last four weeks.”

With the support of the project, the One-Stop Centre at Jinka General Hospital is fully equipped with materials, and staff members have received the necessary training so they can provide coordinated services. Jinka General Hospital provided the rooms in which the Centre operates. In addition, the project has also equipped three other One-Stop Centres in the area with required medical equipment and supplies, and trained health workers to diligently and professionally provide services to sexual and gender-based violence survivors.