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Rape cases - medics need more training

Date Released: Tue, 8 October 2013 14:59 +0200

Rape cases - medics need more training

South Africa's low rape conviction rate could improve drastically if student doctors were given more training at medical school.

The Junior Doctors' Association South Africa (Judasa) says the less than one week's training during the seven years doctors spend learning their craft is not enough. Concerns that inadequately prepared young doctors could be botching DNA sample collection emerged at a recent Pan African Youth Dialogue (PAYD) discussion at Rhodes University aimed at rethinking sexual assault in South Africa.

Judasa Eastern Cape chair Dr Lunga Mfingwana said training for student doctors in treating sexual assault victims and collecting vital evidence needed to be increased and improved. "We need extensive training; one week is just not enough." Judasa, which is a South African Medical Association interest group, partnered with PAYD's Young Women's Dialogue to generate debate on improving medical policy.

Junior doctor Vuyo Soldati said they all needed in-depth training to deal with sexual assault cases. He said shocking Medical Research Council statistics of 2 032 rapes per 100 000 South Africans made the country the rape capital of the world. Of this figure, only 46% were allegedly reported to SAPS - and half of that number eventually made it to court.

Many of these, however, would be thrown out because of compromised evidence. He said he received a rude awakening on his first day as a doctor at a state hospital when he examined his first rape victim. "You know the science but when it comes to the legal side you do not know how to collect evidence and who to send it to."

He said nurses were also not properly trained to deal with sexual assault, and called for dedicated medical staff to handle these cases. Another young doctor, Qhanekazi Nqcobo, said dealing with rape and sexual assault was "emotionally difficult" and young doctors themselves sometimes needed counselling. — davidm@dispatch.co.za

Article Source: DAILY DISPATCH


Source:Daily Dispatch