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Improvement of response times in treating acid attack victims remains a challenge in Colombia

I’ve just returned from a very productive trip to Colombia where I had an opportunity to meet with a number of survivors, medics and government officials to better understand the challenges of addressing acid violence and supporting survivors in accessing medical and legal support. It’s clear that there has been progress in a number of areas since my last visit in September 2014. The hard work of survivors is keeping the issue in the public and political domain, the medical team at the Simon Bolivar Hospital in particular appear to be leading the way in providing quality medical and surgical treatment, the government team in the Secretariat of Health (Bogota) are working hard to provide joined up, integrated support for survivors by working closely with survivors, Simon Bolivar Hospital and the Women’s Secretariat.

However, it is clear that a number of challenges still remain including improvement of response times in treating victims of attack and sharing knowledge and medical expertise beyond Bogota. On the policing and judicial aspect, it is evident talking to survivors that the investigation of attacks by the police remains an issue, as does number of successful prosecutions and the levels of sentencing.

Photographer Ann-Christine Woerhl also visited Bogota to exhibit photographs of survivors from Uganda, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Cambodia in partnership with ASTI. We wanted to show that acid violence is a global problem. I’m grateful to the Secretary of Health (Bogota) and his team for hosting and organising the exhibition.

Jaf Shah,
Executive Director
Acid Survivors Trust International

Posted on November 12th 2015 by Asti Editor in ASTI news

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