International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women: Actions By The Ministry Of Health

In 2021, we are still going through a health emergency due to the COVID -19 pandemic. Gender-based violence has become the second pandemic in the world, and has especially affected women, girls, boys, adolescents, and older women during confinement.

November 25th marks the “International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.” On this day, we remember the struggle of women to achieve equitable and egalitarian life projects. Ecuador continues to work on policies that allow agile, timely, and confidential access to health services with actions of health promotion, prevention and care for victims of gender violence. To do this, the country follows legal bodies such as the Constitution of the Republic, the Organic Law to Prevent and Eradicate Violence against Women, the Organic Criminal Code, the Organic Health Law, and international instruments such as the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Violence against Women (Belén do Pará), among others.

As part of the actions undertaken to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the Ministry of Public Health of Ecuador (MSP) together with the Organization for Migration (IOM) delivered 15 repowered First Reception Rooms. These rooms consist of an additional provision in health in order to take care of victims of gender-based violence.

Gender-based violence constitutes a violation that marks a before and after in the life project of the victims and their families.The Ministry of Health works in a permanent process to provide comprehensive, timely, confidential, non-victimizing care, of quality and warmth at any time of the life cycle in health facilities. This allows the victim to develop a dignified life with respect and protection, fulfilling the obligation that we have as a state.

In 2021, 15 First Reception Rooms have been reinstated in order to give proper health care attention to victims of gender-based violence. There, each case is properly managed according to its severity, and under a vision regarding human rights, gender, inclusion, interculturality, and intersectionality; always keeping confidentiality and avoiding non-revictimization. These spaces allow private care of people who are victims of gender-based violence: physical, psychological, or sexual, providing emergency care until the victim is stabilized.

In these First Reception Rooms, every patient is evaluated and diagnosed, medical and psychological treatments are provided, medications are prescribed, and the sexual violence kit is delivered (this contains prophylactic and antiretroviral treatments, emergency oral contraception). In cases of sexual violence, expert samples are examined and taken. Likewise, the chain of custody is maintained and transportation is facilitated with the support of the police.

The 15 First Reception Rooms are located in Type C Health Centers and Hospitals,  and they have their own care areas (waiting rooms, interview, and psychological care rooms and a medical office. Finally, it should be noted that the 15 First Reception Rooms are located in 11 provinces of the country.

Desirée Viteri Almeida
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