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Setting up a health systems' response to Violence against Women: The Muktha experience, 27th March 2023, at Bengaluru

Centre for Enquiry Into Health and Allied Themes (CEHAT) with National Health Mission, Karnataka, conducted a one- day National Conference on 27th March 2023, at Bengaluru.

Muktha initiative in Bengaluru which loosely translates to ‘being free from violence in Kannada… is the latest of the CEHAT’s initiatives in - Karnataka, where we are working with 5 hospitals to create a health system response to VAW. 27th March 2023 was a conference to present learnings from the implementation of Muktha since 15 months. Representatives from five hospitals presented their pioneering work in the state in front of their state’s administrative heads such as Additional Chief Secretary, Deputy Directors of NHM as well as peers from another nine taluk and district hospitals. 

Inspired by the ‘Dilaasa’ model NHM Karnataka entered into a MoU with CEHAT for technical support in December 2020, which could not have been timed better with the NFHS 5 reporting an increase in the number of spousal violence in Karnataka- to 44%. It rolled out with a Training of the Trainers (ToT) for select Doctors and Nurses, and intensive training of the 46 NHM counsellors to establish the Muktha centres. COVID challenges and lock downs slowed down the process, but the Nodal officers and the NHM leadership’s commitment to the project kept the engagement going. 2700+ survivors have been identified and supported till date. It was heartening to see the Nodal officers from the five hospitals proudly present the model and the data of the work that has been ongoing for about 15 months now. A short working document titled ‘Establishing a Health System Response to Violence Against Women’ was released during the event. 

The sense of achievement of these five hospitals and the determination to do better was palpable. Nothing succeeds like success was very evident. It left the other nine hospitals motivated to get on board for establishing their own ‘Muktha centres’.