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Primary Care Offered to Domestic Violence Victims in Arab World Needs to be Assessed


Healthcare community to address societal and economic burden of domestic violence.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, January 21, 2015 --(PR.com)-- Studies worldwide show that 1 out of 7 women have experienced domestic violence and that 20–40% of women will be victimized at least once during their lifetime. Domestic violence is also prevalent in Arab societies, and, although the prevalence depends on population being studied (household or primary care centers), the numbers are comparable to the ones reported worldwide. Domestic violence has a detrimental effect on the society, family, individuals, as well as the economic burden of diseases. Primary care physicians need to understand the magnitude of the problem in the Arab world in order to offer culturally sensitive service to victims.

According to various regional studies, all primary care physicians encounter victims of violence in their practice. For example, around 35% of women who seek treatment in primary care centers in Lebanon were found to be exposed to violence. In Jordan, the 2008 Population and Family Health Survey revealed that one in three ever-married women aged 15–49 years reported being subjected to physical violence, while 21% of women surveyed in the Family Health Survey carried out in Iraq reported exposure to physical violence.

According to Dr Jinan Usta, President, Lebanese Society of Family Medicine, Beirut, Lebanon, “I believe that the healthcare system has a major role in the eradication of domestic violence. It is of utmost importance to speak up about domestic violence, and highlight it as a major risk factor of ill health and address it appropriately. It is essential to label it fittingly as unacceptable and without justification.”

Dr Usta will be discussing research on domestic violence in the Arab world during the upcoming Public Health Conference at Arab Health Congress, the region’s largest healthcare exhibition and congress, organized by Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions from 26-29 January 2015 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Center.

Women who are victims of domestic violence often approach a healthcare professional with a wide range of complaints, including disturbed sleep patterns, headaches, anxiety, and most commonly depression. In spite of its strong association to ill mental health, domestic violence is often overlooked in clinical settings.

“The main concerns of domestic violence that remain, are how to keep the family united while trying to end or stop the violence, how to decrease or mitigate the effect of violence on the children and how to stay healthy, and avoid depression,” highlighted Dr Usta.
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