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Currently, about one in every three ever-married women in The Gambia have been subjected to some form of physical, sexual or emotional violence by their current or most recent partners while about 9% of women aged 15-49 years have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. Such figures call for increased investments in the prevention and response to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and the empowerment of those most affected – women and girls- to lead dignified lives free of violence. Although GBV is perpetrated against both men and women, women and girls are most affected due to the power imbalance in Gambian communities and socio-cultural and religious norms and practices that undermine their dignity and wellbeing, among other factors.

Around the world, One-Stop Centres (OSCs) have garnered attention in development settings as an exemplary approach to facilitating comprehensive and ethical care for survivors of GBV by delivering coordinated care models which seek to optimise a multi-sectoral approach and ensure consistency in the application of core guiding principles in all GBV service delivery efforts.

On Thursday 11 November 2021, the UNFPA Country Representative was joined by the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Health, Management and Board of the Bundung Maternal and Child Health Hospital (BMCHH) among other dignitaries, to inaugurate the Women Wellness Center at BMCHH. The center was purpose built to be a place of safety, a place of care and information sharing to survivors of Gender-Based Violence guided by core principles of care delivery.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, the UNFPA Country Representative Mr. Kunle Adeniyi, highlighted that the services to be delivered at the center include prevention, medical treatment and care for physical bruises, clinical management of rape, psychosocial counselling, and referrals support for legal assistance and prosecution which are multi-faceted and comprehensive and combine a package of services for GBV survivors.

“If we do not curb the prevalence of Gender-Based Violence in our communities, we risk not realising the desired progress in all other social indicators.” – Kunle Adeniyi, UNFPA The Gambia Country Representative

Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Health, the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Health Mr. Muhammadou Lamin Jaiteh mentioned that the health Ministry in particular and the Government of The Gambia in general recognise the valuable contributions of UNFPA in strengthening the health sector and ensuring the protection of women, girls and other vulnerable groups from violence. The Women Wellness Center he said, is evidence of such contributions.

On their parts, the Chief Executive Officer of BMCHH and the National Coordinator of the Network against Gender-Based Violence (NGBV) both recognised the critical role the center will play in enhancing access to quality emergency care to survivors of GBV.

The Women Wellness Center will bring GBV services closer to the people of Bundung and its environs. Combined with already existing OSCs, the Center is part of a pool of 7 currently functional OSCs integrated within major health facilities across the country.

Through the support that delivered the Women Wellness Center, 50 service providers including doctors and social workers have been trained and certified on GBV case management. This will enable them to provide standard and coordinated services to survivors.

UNFPA remains committed to continue supporting the government and people of The Gambia to create a safer Gambia for all, where women and girls are protected from violence and empowered to live safe and dignified lives.


Media contact:

Haddy Jonga – Programme Analyst Communications, UNFPA The Gambia