By Ogar Monday
Stakeholders, working with children, women and vulnerable persons have asked the Cross River State Government to come up with a policy that will provide free health services for survivors of sexual exploitation and abuse.
The request was made at a meeting on the causes, effects, experiences of, and responses to sexual exploitation and sexual health inequalities among marginalized children and youths in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, organized by Basic Rights Counsel Initiative (BRCI) and an Associate Professor from the United Kingdom undertaking a research on the topic, Dr. Sam Okyere.
Mrs. Ndodeye Bassey who works with the Girls Power Initiative (GPI) stated that there is a need for the Cross River Government to thoroughly include free medical services for victims of sexual abuse in its health plans.
She argued that this will take a huge burden off the shoulders of organisations working with this population in the state.
She said the GPI has tried to approach the state government to include survivors of sexual abuse when it had the free health services for babies to 5 year old but nothing came out of it.
And, the Mediatrix Development Foundation (MDF) which implements the pet projects of its founder and wife of Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River, Dr. Linda Ayade said it is in concord with Mrs. Bassey’s position as there was need for the government to provide free health care for victims of sexual abuse.
The acting Executive Director, Mr. Jeffery Adamade averred that the MDF had recently taking the medical bill of one secondary school sexual abuse victim and added that the government with its array of facilities can do more than any organization can.
Earlier, Dr. Okyere, a researcher from the School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom who said he is conducting the research in collaboration with the BRCI said the research is meant to provide evidence based data to support the existence and dynamics of some of these issues.
According to him, the work seeks to “create baseline qualitative and quantitative data to improve understanding of these phenomena and to inform further research and other work on child sexual abuse and exploitation.”
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