Introduction: Africa has high rates of interpersonal violence and rape, although little is known about how these cases are handled in the clinical setting. Methods: We enrolled 121 health care professionals and students in Tanzania from the fields of midwifery, nursing and medicine, and conducted 18 focus group discussions stratified by both professional and clinical experience. Two clinical scenarios were presented across all groups and participants were asked to give their opinions on how the hospital they worked in would manage the cases. Case 1 focused on how to address a case of an injured woman beaten by her husband (and whether the perpetrator would be reported to the police). Case 2 focused on how to handle a rape victim who is brought to the hospital by the police. Results: Participants considered both cases as emergencies. There was a similarity in the clinical care procedures across both scenarios. This included building rapport with the patient, prioritization of the medical care, history taking, and referring to other specialties for follow-up. Participants differed in how they would handle the legal aspects of both cases, including whether and how to best follow mandated reporting policies. Providers wondered if they should report the husband in case study 1, the criteria for reporting, and where to report. Providers displayed a lack of knowledge about resources needed for sexual violence victim and the availability of resources. Conclusion: These findings indicate that cases of intimate partner violence and rape are likely to be under-reported within hospitals and clinics in Tanzania. Health care providers lack training in their required obligations and procedures that need to be followed to ensure victim’s safety. The findings confirm that there is a need for health care students in Tanzania (and possibly Africa) to receive comprehensive training in how to handle such cases.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Dr Maria Trent reports grants from the National Institutes of Health, during the conduct of the study. The authors report no conflicts of interest in this work.
Research reported in this publication was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01HD092655. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
© 2021 Mgopa et al.
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