The World Health Organisation (WHO) for first time has formulated clinical guidelines on responding to children and adolescents who have been sexually abused.
The guidelines are grounded in human rights standards and ethical principles. They will assist frontline health care providers — general practitioners, gynaecologists, nurses and others — who may directly receive victim of sexual abuse or may identify sexual abuse during course of diagnosis and treatment.
WHO’s first of kind gender sensitive guidelines provide first line support to child or adolescent in response to the disclosure of sexual abuse. It offers HIV post-exposure prophylaxis and adherence support to those who have been raped and who present within 72 hours.
It offers emergency contraception to girl child who has been raped and who present within 120 hours (5 days). It takes into consideration STI (sexually transmitted infections) presumptive treatment or prophylaxis in settings where laboratory testing is not feasible.
It also takes in considerations cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with trauma focus for those have PTSD symptoms and diagnosis. It also offers Hepatitis B and HPV vaccination. It also calls upon health care providers about informing obligation on victims and their non-offending caregivers to report abuse and limits of confidentiality before interviewing them.
The guidelines put best interests of children first by ensuring confidentiality and privacy, respecting their autonomy and wishes and addressing needs with vulnerabilities such as LGBT adolescents. They will assist WHO member states to ensure health and well-being of children and adolescents. It will also strengthen implementation of Global Plan of Action on strengthening health systems in response to violence against women and girls and against children that was endorsed by World Health Assembly in 2016.
World Health Organization (WHO)
The WHO is specialized agency of United Nations that acts as coordinating authority on international public health. It was established in April 1948 and succeeded Health Organization, which was an agency of the League of Nations. It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and its headquarters is located at Geneva.