The most prevalent health challenge among our participants is chronic abdominal pain during daily movement. One of our participants had surgical intervention to remove her fallopian tubes in an attempt to ease the pain in her stomach from rape.
Medical Treatment for Women
Ibutwa's healthcare program has been restarted with new operations. Our new program will focus on providing medical treatment for specific women in addition to partnering with a local hospital.
When Ibutwa was founded, the first and most urgent priority was in providing medical treatment to our clients to address the immediate physical effects of the trauma caused by sexual violence. All of the women who were referred to our program were seen by medical professionals to diagnose the extent of their injuries (some of which had occurred months or even years previously) and offer them treatment and psychosocial support.
There is no playbook for healing communities afflicted by sexual violence, so Ibutwa experimented with two models of health care delivery. The first approach was a case management system; an Ibutwa staff member worked with clients to bring them to health care specialists and pay for treatment. This model proved ineffective as it was extremely costly and our clients found the travel and time-sensitive nature of the program difficult to manage.
Today, women who seek the support of Ibutwa for medical diagnosis and/or treatment of a serious complaint make a request for medical services through an application to our field staff. Our staff meets on a regular basis to review the applications and send recommendations to the PMC in Vermont for final approval. This process allows for the preservation of health care for our clients as we work toward a more permanent and sustainable health care delivery system.