Sexual violence does not stop at national borders and is a serious shared transnational concern. Physicians for Human Rights, a non-governmental organization employing science, medicine, forensics, and public health to protect and defend human rights, has been devoting considerable attention to addressing the crimes of sexual violence. To this end, PHR, together with end users in healthcare, law enforcement and legal practice in Kenya and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, developed MediCapt, a mobile application to improve the collection, documentation, and storage of forensic medical evidence of sexual violence. The application converts a standardized medico-legal form used for the collection of forensic evidence to a digitized format and combines with a mobile camera to enable forensic photography.
The application was designed to address problems in documentation of sexual violence caused by poor legibility on important medical and legal forms, incomplete forms, lack of storage capacity for needed information, and difficulty in transmitting documentation from healthcare facilities to other sectors, while preserving data security and chain of custody. Forms filled through MediCapt have enhanced security, allow for comprehensive documentation of sexual violence offenses, and provide quality evidence for courts to hold perpetrators accountable for these crimes.
Sylvester Mesa provides curative, preventive, and counseling services at Naivasha County Referral Hospital (NCRH) Outpatient Department & Casualty Department. He is also the Clinician in-charge of the Outpatient Department and Casualty Department and a member of the Hospital Management Team (HMT). He also serves as the chairman of the Hospital Quality Assurance Team (QAT) and a member of the Naivasha Sexual Gender Based Violence Sub-County Committee. He has seven years of experience in responding to sexual and gender-based violence and acts as an expert witness for these cases. He holds a Diploma in Clinical Medicine and Surgery from Kenya Medical Training College.
Dr. Ranit Mishori is Physicians for Human Rights’ Senior Medical Advisor. She is a professor of family medicine at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, and currently serves as Georgetown University’s Chief Public Health Officer, helping lead their COVID-19 response. A former journalist, she has built a multi-dimensional career that includes academia, scholarship, clinical care, mentorship, and leadership roles in public health, global health, medical education, the care of underserved populations, and human rights. At PHR, she provides technical and medical expertise to multiple programs, in particular the Asylum Program, the Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones, and the MediCapt project.
Suzanne Kidenda is a Program Officer for PHR’s Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones in Kenya. She leads in the implementation of program activities including the MediCapt project. She also manages the advancement of mental health and psycho-social projects related to the program and facilitates the capacity development for partners and service providers on documenting and responding to sexual violence. Suzanne holds a post-graduate degree in development studies and a BA in psychology.
Karen Naimer oversees all activities within PHR’s program division. Her oversight includes research, investigations, asylum, capacity development, and advocacy-related projects. She also supervises initiatives ranging from PHR’s U.S. Asylum Network to international programs focusing on documenting and responding to sexual violence in conflict zones and mass killings. Naimer was the founding director of PHR’s Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones and served in that role for ten years.
Mindy C. Reiser (Moderator), PhD, is a sociologist with extensive research and evaluation experience in the United States and internationally. She has worked for the United Nations, taught at the university level, and served as program manager for economic development programs in Central Asia and the Caucasus. She is a member of the Steering Committee of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition. Dr. Reiser is a co-founder and Vice President of Global Peace Services USA -- an NGO focusing on peacebuilding and conflict resolution, and also serves on the Board of Governors of the Washington, DC Chapter of the Labor and Employment Relations Association.
This webinar series is a project of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition. The team organizer is Oliver Moles, Ph.D.
To view past webinars in this series, please visit Scientific Collaborations with Human Rights Organizations.