Domestic Violence: The Role of the Nigerian Obstetrician
AbstractContext: Domestic violence is increasingly recognized as an important public health issue, resulting in significant physical, psychological and social impairment. It occurs everywhere and at anytime of the day but under-reported in Nigeria. Victims are at a higher risk of several common gynaecological disorders and complications in pregnancy where the health and safety of two potential victims are placed in jeopardy.
Objective: To assess the attitude and practice of Obstetricians towards the problem of domestic violence in Nigeria.
Methodology: A self-administered questionnaire survey of 138 residents and consultants practing Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Nigeria who attended either the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria update course in Ibadan in September 2002 or the 6th International Congress of the Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria (SOGON) held in Abuja in November 2002.
Results: Most (97.8%) of the respondents agreed that Obstetricians have a role to play in the management of domestic violence. The roles to play include counselling (68.9%) treatment of injuries and prevention of complications (57.8%), education and public awareness (28.3%) and advocacy and instituting policies (13.3%).
Conclusion: Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have a medical and ethical obligation to recognize and intervene on behalf of the abused patient. We cannot solve the problem alone, but sensitivity and commitment can begin to make a difference.
Key Words: Domestic, Violence, Obstetricians, Nigeria.
[ Trop J Obstet Gynaecol, 2004;21:46-48]
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