Original Research

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare service access for the victims of sexual assault

Ramprakash Kaswa
South African Family Practice | Vol 63, No 1 : Part 4| a5367 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v63i1.5367 | © 2021 Ramprakash Kaswa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 July 2021 | Published: 27 October 2021

About the author(s)

Ramprakash Kaswa, Department of Family Medicine and Rural Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa

Abstract

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic disrupted the provision or exacerbated the existing gap of access to essential healthcare services. An unanticipated effect on access to healthcare services emerged with the introduction of COVID-19 lockdown regulations. Violence against women is prevalent with varying degrees of severity in all spheres of society.

Methods: This study aims to evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the access to healthcare services for the victims of sexual assault in the Mthatha region of South Africa. This is a records review of victims of sexual assault survivors who visited and were treated at the Sinawe TCC at Mthatha Regional Hospital. The data on sexual assault cases at Sinawe TCC were compared with a time-matched control group from 2014 to 2020.

Results: There were 5747 sexual assault cases reported at Sinawe TCC between 01 January 2014 and 31 December 2020. There was a major drop in reported cases at Sinawe TCC during the 2020 year, with only about half (451) of the annual average cases being reported.

Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic has an impact on access to healthcare services for the victims of sexual assault survivors in the Mthatha region of South Africa.


Keywords

COVID-19; pandemic; violence against women; sexual assault; lockdown

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