Towards a Global Interdisciplinary Evidence-Informed Practice: Intimate Partner Violence in the Ethiopian Context

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Amy C. Bender, RN, MN, PhD
Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
Sepali Guruge, RN, PhD
Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON, Canada
Fekadu Aga, BScN, MScN
Centralized School of Nursing and Midwifery, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Learning Objective 1: the learner will gain insight into the issue of intimate partner violence as a global health issues, specifically in the Ethiopian context.

Learning Objective 2: the learner will be able to discuss the benefits of international research collaborations between high and low income countries.

Purpose: Intimate partner violence (IPV), also referred to as wife abuse or domestic violence, is a major global health issue. However, more research on IPV has been conducted in high-income than in low and middle-income countries. Building on our previous and current work, this project was conducted to: 1) understand and describe IPV in Ethiopia; 2) examine perceptions of IPV as a health issue; and 3) identify gaps in existing health-related research in order to inform the development of a fuller program of health research in Ethiopia that may contribute to practice and education initiatives.

Methods: A total of 53 published documents examining IPV in the Ethiopian context between 2000 and 2009 was reviewed. In addition, an interdisciplinary forum with nurses, physicians, lawyers, academics, and governmental and non-governmental agency staff was held in Addis Ababa along with a meeting with nursing faculty from a number of universities across Ethiopia.

Results: The limited published health sciences literature provided evidence of high prevalence rates of IPV, in particular, in the areas of sexual and physical violence, various health consequences of IPV, and the importance of understanding IPV in the broader socio-cultural and economic context. Our forums provided evidence of the work that is being done by public health researchers and a few agencies as well as the limited involvement of health professionals in addressing this issue. A particular concern was the lack of IPV content in nursing curricula.

Conclusion: This project highlights the need for future research, education, and practice initiatives that are interdisciplinary and international. It also begs the question of how IPV is being addressed in nursing programs across the world.