AUTHORITIES in Dodoma announced yesterday that they are determined to help all victims of Gender Based Violence (GBV), especially sexual assault and rape, but wants them to report them promptly.
The city’s social work officer, Ms Aneth Mwambya, called on the general public to take victims of rape to hospitals immediately for medications, as well as prevention of HIV transmission, in the event a perpetrator has AIDS.
No cure exists for AIDS, but the World Health Organization and public health experts acknowledge that should the survivor take antiretroviral drugs (PEP), a 28- days dosage within 72 hours of the abuse can reduce the risk of infection by 80 percent.
According to Tanzania HIV Impact Survey 2016- 2017 report published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the annual incidence of HIV infection among adults aged 15 years and older was 0.24 percent, which corresponds to 24 new infections for every 10,000 persons a year and approximately 72,000 new cases among adults in the country.
The survey conducted in both Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar showed that HIV prevalence among adults between 15-49 years was 4.7 percent while prevalence among children aged 0-14 years was 0.4 percent.
“The government has approved a new arrangement under which all such victims must seek medical help before reporting to the police... this is a positive development aiming to help especially a girl child who is exposed to the violence,” she told girls at the Dodoma Secondary School who had conveyed for an awareness meeting organised by the Woman Wake Up (WOWAP).
The officer said the new law further helps the government in its battle against the epidemic in the country.
However, she urged youngsters to behave and uphold strong unity amongst themselves as ambassadors for promoting girl child safety in communities, at home and school.
Speaking on behalf of other girls, Noela Msemwa, a Form Two student at the school, thanked the government and the non-governmental organisation for reaching out and proving the information.
The young girl acknowledged that she had been too secretive and scared to speak out for lacking self esteem but said she was now ready to defend other girls who would be victims of sexual assault and other gender based-related violence.
Nasra Suleiman, the WOWAP Coordinator, announced that the organisation was implementing “My Voice” initiative aiming at giving voice to the girl child to become more self aware and defend themselves against GBV.
She said the project targets children aged between 13 and 17 who are both in or out of the school.