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Skip to 0 minutes and 7 secondsThe topic we will focus on this week is health care for victims of torture. We will meet Peace who is a Ugandan asylum seeker who recently arrived in the United Kingdom. She visits a General Practice Surgery in London because she is not feeling well, and we will discuss how different staff in the practice treats her and what they could have done differently to assist Peace. Victims of torture may suffer long-term consequences affecting their health, daily functioning and well-being. However, they may not speak openly about it because of feelings of guilt and shame; fear of evoking frightening memories; or because they have developed mistrust in healthcare staff.

Skip to 0 minutes and 58 secondsHealth professionals, who are alert and mindful of the physical and mental effects of torture, can play an important role in the care and treatment of its victims and assists in investigation and documentation of the health consequences of torture. After going through this week’s session you will be familiar with regional and international frameworks governing the responsibilities of health professionals regarding torture, and you will be able to discuss the main responsibilities of health professionals when working with patients who may have been tortured. You will also be familiar with some of the most common physical and psychological signs of torture, and understand the importance of proper medical documentation.

Skip to 1 minute and 48 secondsWe will reflect on some of the challenges victims of torture face and how health professionals may assist through the case story about Peace. And there will be several opportunities to discuss relevant questions with your fellow participants and the facilitators. Let’s get started!

Welcome to Week 4

Welcome to Week 4! Spend a few minutes watching the introductory video above before you proceed.

This week is facilitated by Ingvild Fossgard Sandøy, who will teach together with Frank Arnold and Basema Salman Spijkerman.

Last week we focused on health care for refugees and asylum seekers. This week we will see how health care professionals may contribute to healing among victims of torture. We will meet a fictional character, Peace Abilowale, a Ugandan asylum seeker who has recently arrived in the UK. There are several aspects of her story that reflect some of the general challenges asylum seekers may face in accessing health care. However, it is worth keeping in mind that victims of torture are not necessarily refugees or asylum seekers. Amnesty International has reported on torture in 141 countries in the world in the last decade, and in many of these countries torture is being used systematically and extensively.

Peace’s story is illustrated through cartoons over the next few steps. We have used a fictional story in order to avoid revealing patient information, but the story is based on the experiences of real patients. You may find some of the content covered in this week upsetting.

By the end of this week, you will be able to:

  1. Describe regional and international frameworks governing health professionals’ responsibilities regarding torture.
  2. Recognise common physical and psychological signs of torture.
  3. Be aware of the importance of proper medical documentation of torture.

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This video is from the free online course:

Medical Peace Work

University of Bergen

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