The Camp organized by College of Medicine Students will run for 3 days under the Theme “Violence against women: The hidden health burden”.
It is the first time that such a conference is being held under the theme of sexual and reproductive health rights on the African continent by Medical students’ associations under International Federation of Medical Students Association – IFMSA. Delegates at the conference are from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe.
Speaking as the Guest of Honour, Dr Chilima said it is important that medical students focus on the theme of the conference as the prevalence rate of violence against women and girls in Malawi is very high.
“The theme is in line with the main focus areas of training during the boot camp namely: Gender Based Violence, HIV, Maternal Health, Adolescent Health and Peer Education Training,” said Dr Chilima.
Recent statistics show that 42% of women in Malawi have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence in their life time.
According to the Vice President, it is worrisome that one in every two girls is married before their 18th birthday, and Malawi is among the top 10 countries with the highest numbers of child marriages in Africa.
Gender-based violence (GBV), including rape, domestic violence, mutilation, murder and sexual abuse is a profound health problem for women not only in Africa but across the globe. On this, Dr Chilima said concerted efforts are needed among stakeholders to end the GBV.
Recent World Bank estimates of the global burden of diseases indicate that in established market economies, gender-based victimization is responsible for one out of every five health days of life lost to women of reproductive age.
“By weakening women's energy, undermining their confidence, and compromising their health, gender violence deprives society of women's full participation.
Ultimately, it is up to all of us in our homes, our communities, our nations, our global community to create a world that is safe for women and girls, in which all women have full enjoyment of all human and health rights,” said Dr Chilima.
Speaking earlier, Vice Chancellor of the University of Malawi Prof John Kalenga Saka thanked the Vice President for gracing the occasion. He said government of Prof Mutharika take serious matters relating to women.
In his remarks, Parth Patel, President for Medical Students Association at College of Medicine appealed to delegates at the conference to make maximum use of the time during the entire training.
“Take back great memories, friendships and most importantly, new skills and knowledge that will enable you to make an impact when you return to your respective communities,” appealed Patel.
He assured the guests at the function that the conference is just the beginning of great ventures by Medical Students into positively impacting the societies in entire nation, continent and whole world.