The Women at Risk International Foundation is set to launch its new initiative in partnership with the ACT Foundation called The Gatekeepers initiative.
This project aims to address the issue of gender based violence in the rural areas through traditional birth attendants (TBA), also known as traditional midwives or community midwives. These are women who are regarded as pregnancy and childbirth care specialists and provide the majority of primary maternity care in many developing countries based on their experience and knowledge acquired informally through the traditions and practices of the communities where they originated.
TBA’s are the first choice when it comes to healthcare for expectant mothers, women and their children in the rural areas as they are considered trusted members of their communities and are held in high regard. In addition, misconceptions held about primary health care centres such as death from caesarean sections, harsh and unsympathetic treatment from nurses and staff and exorbitant hospital fees contribute to TBAs being the primary health providers to these women.
With the high incidence of rape and sexual violence in these rural areas, a community-based approach to providing education and care to survivors is necessary. The consequences of this violence is seen with an increased risk in the rate of new cases of HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. More often than not, TBA’s are ill-equipped to prevent and treat such cases.
With the assistance of the grant from the ACT Foundation and the WARIF’s Gate Keeper’s Initiative; WARIF is set to tackle this through this education and training initiative – to recognize the signs and provide services that aid in the treatment and prevention of Gender Based Violence that occurs frequently in their communities.
Anita Kemi DaSilva – Ibru MD; MPH Founder | Women at Risk International Foundation | WARIF
Anita Kemi Dasilva is a specialist Obstetrician and Gynecologist with a medical back-ground that extends to Public Health. A qualified and experienced specialist since 2002, Dr. Dasilva has worked in Lagos for over 10 years in private practice, where she has dedicated her time to working closely with non-government organizations and related agencies in addressing the prevailing issues of gender based violence, rape and trafficking of young girls and women in communities throughout Lagos, by offering free medical support and counseling.
Dr. Dasilva graduated from the College of Medicine, University of Lagos and completed her postgraduate training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Howard University, Washington DC. She received her Master’s degree in Public Health from the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.
She has also expanded her expertise in the field of medicine with her participation in post-graduate medical courses in various specialties, and is an alumnus of the Lagos Business School, Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos. A member of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria and the American Medical Association; she also serves as a board member on non-government organisations such as the Erelu Angela Adebayo Foundation (ERAF).
Dr. Dasilva is a strong advocate of gender equality and empower all women and girls and is known for her unmitigated passion for women’s rights which has shaped her life and has led to her establishing the Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF).She believes that it is our primary social responsibility, to ensure that globally, all young girls and women live in a society free of rape and sexual violence.