(Portland, OR) June 16, 2023 – Medical Teams International, a global health and humanitarian relief organization, is uniting with people around the world to mark World Refugee Day this Tuesday, June 20. There are approximately 110 million forcibly displaced people worldwide – the highest number ever on record – according to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Disturbingly, cases of sexual and gender-based violence are rising with this number.

Medical Teams International recognizes that the physical and mental health of women and girls is central to the health of their families and communities. With approximately one in three women around the world experiencing physical and/or sexual violence by a partner or non-partner in her lifetime, Medical Teams makes our response to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) a priority in our work.

To help prevent SGBV, community health workers and volunteers engage communities with awareness-raising messaging – trying to shift attitudes that normalize violence against women and girls and raise awareness of services.

Around the world, prevention of SGBV is the goal, but treatment is often the reality in response to armed conflict and humanitarian emergencies. SGBV risk increases with the presence of armed actors, displacement, broken social and protective networks, and lack of services and livelihoods. Medical Teams works to ensure that women and girls affected by SGBV have access to confidential, psychosocial support and medical treatment, and that they get referrals as needed.

Medical Teams recently hosted a webinar on SGBV and its link to the global food crisis.

For example, in Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania, Medical Teams provides initial support and clinical management of rape services anywhere we provide primary health care and sexual and reproductive health services. This includes medical examination, treatment of injuries, emergency contraception, STI and HIV prophylaxis, basic psychosocial support, and referral to a Protection NGO. The Protection NGOs provide protection and case management services, such as access to a safe house, ongoing mental health and psychosocial support, or support for the survivor to access the legal system.

For more information about Medical Teams or to give, visit www.medicalteams.org

About Medical Teams International

Founded in 1979, Medical Teams International provides life-saving medical care for people in crisis, such as survivors of natural disasters and refugees. We care for the whole person— physical, emotional, social and spiritual. Daring to love like Jesus, we serve all people—regardless of religion, nationality, sex or race. Learn more at medicalteams.org and on social media using @medicalteams.