Four years after the horrific gang rape of a paramedical student exposed gaping holes in our system to deal with crimes against women, a study of nine Delhi hospitals has shown that they are not equipped to handle victims of rape, molestation and domestic violence.
The study includes 25 dispensaries apart from the Delhi government hospitals.
The researchers from Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC) showed 76.4% doctors and 88.7% nursing staff have no training in dealing with people affected by gender-based violence.
They reviewed the medical facilities available and interviewed 739 doctors, medical superintendants, nurses and other staff members.
Only 14.2% of the doctors surveyed asked the right questions and 16.4% could identify violence based on history and examination.
The SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence) kits were available in the hospitals but none of the dispensaries had it. “The kit is used to collect forensic evidence in cases of rape. And, it is important that even dispensaries have these kits because in several cases dispensaries can be the first point of contact for victims,” said Dr Suneela Garg, professor in the department of community medicine at MAMC.
Counselling were available at eight hospitals and 11 dispensaries, but counsellors were present in three of the nine hospitals and two of the 25 dispensaries.
The study found 40.4% of doctors and 47.1% of the nurses knew the protocols to deal with victims of gender violence.
Seven of hospitals and none of the dispensaries had officially designated nodal officers for managing such cases.
Two of the nine hospitals surveyed had IEC (information, education and communication) material on sexual abuse or rape.
More than 72% doctors and nurses said the lack of private screening space was a major hurdle in examining victims of violence. Facility for bathing after examination was available in 44% hospitals and none of the dispensariesm, the study found.
Basic amenities were missing in some hospitals and dispensaries. Two of the nine hospitals and 12 dispensaries did not have emergency contraceptives and four hospitals and 12 dispensaries did not have STI prophylaxis – treatment given to prevent sexually transmitted infections.