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Interview with Sr Kurangwa, Sister-in-Charge, Adult Rape Clinic, Mbuya Nehanda Maternity Wing, Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals
Upenyu Makoni-Muchemwa,
July 17, 2009

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Read Inside/Out with Sr. Kurangwa

How was the Adult Rape clinic established?

There is a facility at Harare Hospital where abused children are looked after. But there was not a service for adults. Adults were being attended to in casualty at Harare Hospital and Parirenyatwa. We felt that they were not getting a good service because of the nature of casualty. It's a very busy place; the nurses have no time to counsel, the doctors have no time to do a thorough medical affidavit. So we felt that these women required a dedicated [medical] service, a special area assigned for their management, where they would get an efficient and compassionate service, because they need compassion. We need time with them: they are traumatized emotionally, so they need a place where they can discuss their feelings, and where the nurses have time to help them deal with their feelings. Listen

On average how many patients do you receive every week?

Since we started on the 9th of March we've been seeing about 25 patients a month. But we feel that when we make the public aware, more people will come forward.

When do you plan on launching the clinic properly?

We plan on launching it in July. We are working together with the Ministry and it is not in a position to have the launch now. We feel that a launch is very important. We may also launch in November during the 16 days of activism, that way it will have an impact.

How are your patients referred to you?

Mostly they come from the police stations but some of the survivors come on their own, after hearing about us from other people. But mostly it is the police who bring them.

How would you profile your patients?

We see all sorts of patients. We see young girls from about sixteen, up to old women of 70.

What is the severity of the injury to survivors?

Mostly its genital injuries. We haven't seen anything too drastic. Just minor genital injuries so far.

Do you recommend that survivors see psychological counseling and do you provide those services?

We provide the services. There are two of us registered nurses and we are both counselors. And we provide psychosocial care as well. But we always tell them (the survivors) that if you feel that you need more counseling, and you feel this place is not offering you what you really want, we can refer you to other organizations like the Musasa Project. But most of our survivors are quite happy (with us) and will tell us that they will continue coming here.

So you provide on-going counseling?

We provide on-going counseling because if a survivor comes they have to come back for follow ups to check whether they are adhering to their drugs, to check if the drugs that we've given them have done their job. They have to come back so that we can review them. We review them medically and also review them psychosocially. Listen

What is the full spectrum of services that you offer?

We offer survivors psychosocial care, counseling, and medical care. We do the medical examination for a court process, and also collection of forensic evidence for the court process. And some legal advice. We've got a police officer that has been stationed here since the beginning of July who can also offer legal advice.

Does a survivor have to report the crime to the police before they come to you?

Not necessarily. They can come here first, get their medical care, because most people are worried about HIV. So they can come here and after their medical management they can go to the police or we can call the police to tell them that we've got a survivor. There's a police post here at Parirenyatwa and they are very helpful.

What are your operating hours and location?

We operate from 8 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon, Monday to Friday. Unfortunately we cannot work during the weekends or after hours because of the staff situation. We still have a lot of challenges with funds and things like that. We are situated at Mbuya Nehanda Maternity Hospital, on the second floor.

What challenges are you facing in running the clinic?

We have doctors, who come and examine the survivors, but they belong to other departments, and sometimes they are busy, they cannot come to the clinic when we require them. It means the survivors have to wait a bit longer for examination. That is the main challenge. The other is that we would like to offer a free service but at the moment our survivors have to pay a US$10 consultation fee to access these services. Also, we need things like clothes for the survivors, especially panties ... at the moment we haven't got any. If there are fresh cases we advise them not to bath or change, so after examination they will need these things. And also it would be good if we could reimburse travel expenses so that our survivors come back, because they are not coming back as we'd like them to and I think transport may be the problem. Listen

If somebody listening wanted to help or make a donation, how would they go about doing that?

They can contact us at the clinic, Mbuya Nehanda, second Floor. The clinic director is Dr M Borok, she's in the department of medicine, University of Zimbabwe. Or they can come directly to the clinic, and we can have a chat and see where we go from there.

Audio File

  • How established
    Language: English
    Duration: 1min 13sec
    Date: July 17, 2009
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 1.12MB

  • Counselling
    Language: English
    Duration: 48sec
    Date: July 17, 2009
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 758KB

  • Clinic needs
    Language: English
    Duration: 1min 15sec
    Date: July 17, 2009
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 1.14MB

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