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Medical and film industries join forces to fight gender-based violence

Because film can play an important role in shifting norms and changing behaviors, UNFPA partnered with the National Council for Women (NCW), MedFest and the Mansoura University Hospital, to organize a first of its kind workshop that utilizes the power of film to create dialogue.

The workshop brought together 21 doctors and 10 nurses from the Mansoura University Hospital, who discussed in-depth impacts of gender-based violence on women, girls and communities.

This unique workshop format relies on short films, documentaries and drama as a medium to reflect realistic case studies.

MedFest is a medically-themed educational, short film forum.

The workshop showed a Danish drama called “Beast,” featuring 10-year old Benjamin who takes his father’s pricey puppy as hostage to pressure him to apologize to his mother for hitting her.

Unfortunately, the father is not the apologizing kind.

The film prompted discussions and questions by the participants, such as the reluctance of survivors of violence to seek help, and how to intervene and help victims of domestic violence.

Participants also discussed the different forms of violence reflected in the film, touching on the cases of survivors of violence they come across in their jobs, with Dr. Olfat Allam, a Mental Health Expert.

Dr. Mina El-Naggar, Founder of MedFest, and Dr. Olfat Allam also discussed the effects of cinema, movies and art in general on the medical industry.

The workshop was also attended by a delegation from UNFPA’s Coordination Unit at the National Council of Women, Dr. Nesrine Omar, the Dean of Faculty of Medicine in Mansoura University, Dr. Tamer Abo-Saad, Students Affairs Undersecretary for Advanced Studies and Research, Dr. Basma Shouman, Students Affairs Undersecretary for Education and Dr. Salwa Toubar, Head of Psychological Medicine.

This workshop is part of the capacity building program, funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, leading up to the launch of the Medical Response Clinic to Gender-Based Violence in the university hospital.

UNFPA, through its partnership with NCW, developed the first operational manual compiling good practices and procedures to establish such units in educational institutes in Egypt.

UNFPA is building on the success of last year’s partnership with Medfest, when the festival commemorated the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and promote access to quality reproductive health care to eliminate unmet need for family planning in Egypt.

The festival hosted special screenings followed by panel discussions with filmmakers, doctors and experts and made stops in Assiut, Sohag and Luxor. Guests included directors Hani Khalifa and Kamla Abu Zikri, and actress Injy Wegdan.