2009-09-25 07:37:00 Most women 'beaten by spouses' By Exuper Kachenje THE CITIZEN More than 80 per cent of gender based violence (GBV) cases reported in the last 12 months in East Africa show that women suffer physically through beatings from their husbands. This has been established in a research conducted by the Regional Centre for Quality Health Care (RCQHC), according to Dr Yvonne Kidza, a maternal, neonatal and reproductive advisor from the University School of Public Health in Kampala, Uganda. Addressing the third regional forum on best practices in health care held in Arusha recently, she said in the last 12 months, a total of 5,878 cases on violence were reported in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. But an independent report from the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in Tanzania indicated that it handled only 102 cases concerning sexual abuse. Between 1993 and 1996, reported cases involving children aged below four years accounted for 24 per cent, it revealed. "In the last 12 months reports show that in 80 per cent of the violence cases reported, women suffered physical violence inflicted by husbands,� said Dr Kidza. She continued: "There have been increasing evidence from studies from East, Central and Southern Africa indicating that GBV is a common problem affecting females of all ages and social strata. It is a common problem that negatively affects the reproductive health of females." Dr Kidza, who conducted an analytical survey in the East, Central and Southern African region, said 64 per cent of medical schools have not integrated gender in their respective preservice curriculum. She said this was a serious oversight because not only knowledge was needed but also skills for health workers. She said in 2006 a situational analysis survey was done by the RCQHC in 15 universities, medical schools and 30 nurses training schools in East Africa. It was geared at equipping graduates in health training schools and colleges with the competence required to promote gender equality and empower women. According to Dr Kidza, during the same period in Uganda four per cent of primary school children were raped by their teachers. Debating the findings, delegates mentioned lack of awareness among policy makers, trainers and students on GBV as high. They proposed that this should be looked into. They also cited the need for resource allocation, capacity building and research to be implemented at the national level. National governments should fill in the gaps and give special attention to children's policy as well as improve access to quality health care and management of GBV victims, they said.