Salud Pública de México
Print version ISSN 0036-3634
RODRIGUEZ-BOLANOS, Rosibel de los Angeles; MARQUEZ-SERRANO, Margarita and KAGEYAMA-ESCOBAR, María de la Luz. Gender based violence: knowledge and attitudes of health care providers in Nicaragua. Salud pública Méx [online]. 2005, vol.47, n.2, pp.134-144. ISSN 0036-3634. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0036-36342005000200007.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the knowledge and attitudes of health care personnel towards the identification and referral of gender-based violence victims (GBV). Also, to identify barriers to identification and referral of GBV, and to assess the levels of knowledge about Norms and Procedures for Intra-Family Violence Care by the health care personnel of the Nicaraguan's Minister of Health (MINSA, for its initials in Spanish). MATERIAL AND METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted among healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses and nursing technical aides (n=213), in 5 of the 17 Local Systems of Integral Attention (SILAIS) from the Integral Program of Attention for Women, Children and Adolescence (AIMNA) in the primary level of attention in MINSA, from April to June 2003. Attitude was measured with a Likert scale and an awareness index was created for intra-family violence care guidelines. The information was obtained using a self-administered instrument, based on the questionnaire of the study made among the personnel of the Mexican Institute for Social Security (IMSS, for its initials in Spanish), Morelos, Mexico. A logistic regression model was used to evaluate the association between attitude and several factors, as well as with the knowledge of care guidelines. RESULTS: In our population, 76.06% showed an attitude opposing GBV. In the multivariate analysis, the factors associated with opposition to GBV were: medical profession (OR 6.5, 95%CI 2.70-15.82), having a middle (OR 4.3, 95%CI 1.87-10.26) or high level (OR 3.3, 95%CI 1.03-10.75) of knowledge about intra-family violence guidelines and the closeness to relatives or friends who were victims of gender violence (OR 3.2, 95%CI 1.56-6.80). The lack of training on the subject (59.9%), fear of getting involved in legal issues (52.6%), and the concept that violence is a private affair and not a social one (50.7%), constituted the most important barriers to providing medical care. CONCLUSIONS: The health care personnel generally were observed to have high values in regard to an attitude of rejection towards GBV. However, we found barriers that show persisting traditional beliefs, such as considering violence to be a personal issue. Therefore, in order, to ensure a substantial improvement, better training about this subject is needed in medical school curricula with an emphasis on the gender perspective. The finding of the present study will allow improvements in health care reforms at the first level of care in the health sector in Nicaragua.
Keywords : gender based violence; health care personnel; domestic violence; attitude; awareness; Nicaragua.