23 February 2019
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Monday, 09 November 2015 20:14

Rumphi DHO struggling to establish a One Stop Centre

Written by  Joel Chirwa

Rumphi, November 9, 2015: Rumphi District Hospital is struggling to establish fully fledged One Stop Centre (OSC) that would speed up handling sexual abuse cases.

District Medical Officer (DMO) Dr. Stephen Macheso raised the  concern Friday during stakeholders meeting organised by Life Concern Organisation (LICO) where delegates shared notes on the progress in curbing sexual abuse cases in the district.

One Stop Centre will accommodate officers from police, social welfare and health sectors who will be working under one roof specifically to assist victims of sexual abuse.

Nonetheless, despite the structural challenge Dr. Macheso said they have identified one room which he said was not spacious to accommodate all personnel   designated to work in it. 

“It is something we are aspiring to establish as it will ease the burden on the victims [of sexual abuse] of moving from one office to another to seek assistance.

“We identified one office but it is not spacious to accommodate all staff members designated to work therein,” explained Dr. Macheso.

Commenting on the issue, Peter Gondwe LICO executive director whose organization is spearheading efforts to establish the centre disclosed that his organization was still in process of fundraising for the construction project.

He said he met representatives of UNAIDS, UN Women and UNICEF to lobby for the support of the project but was referred to UNICEF.

“We were referred to UNICEF who told us that Rumphi is not in the ongoing project implementation plans but Nkhata Bay. However, they told us to wait until 2016 when something will crop up,” he said.

Earlier Rumphi officials told the meeting that last year police handled 26 cases of defilement and rape while this year between January and September the figure has risen to 37.

However, community policing coordinator and child protection officer, Inspector Adson Mapanda expressed concern that most child defilement cases go unreported to law enforcers especially where the victim and the perpetrator are related.

“We are still facing the problem of concealment of information to police especially when the victims and the perpetrator are related. This is a challenge to us.

“Another challenge is that when the victims have been referred to hospital to get a medical report some do not come back to police and cannot be traced,” said Mapanda.

Rumphi Police Officer-In-Charge, Glinton Mitayi advised the victim of sexual abuse to report back to police once a medical report has been issued for further action.

“The medical report is very important for easy processing of the case in court. In absence of the report it is very difficult to proceed with such cases; especially in situation where it is a defended case,” Mitayi observed.

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