UNFPA HELPS RESTORE DIGNITY OF WOMEN WITH OBSTETRIC FISTULA

ZIMBABWE: HEALTH/SABANEWS/24/5/18 SABANews 1

C-section op

HARARE – About 400 women in ZIMBABWE have benefitted from surgery conducted at fistula repair centres under a campaign to end obstetric fistula in the SADC country.

Health experts say obstetric fistula is a medical condition in which a hole develops in the birth canal as a result of childbirth.

A UN statement says the Ministry of Health and Child Care has led the campaign with financial and technical support from the UNFPA and the Women and Health Alliance International.

It says the authorities carried out the majority of the surgeries in the western region at the CHINHOYI Provincial Hospital, the current centre of excellence for fistula repair since 2015.

The UNFPA says it supported the Ministry of Health THREE years ago on a learning mission to ETHIOPIA, resulting in the launch of the Obstetric Fistula Program.

It says 58 health personnel including nurses and doctors have trained in the pre and post-operative management of Obstetric Fistula through a mentorship scheme.

The project is a joint effort between the Women and Health Alliance International and the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

UNFPA says obstetric fistula is ONE of the most serious and tragic injuries during child birth; and is due to prolonged or obstructed labour without timely access to emergency care, like a Caesarean section.

It says the condition leaves women leaking urine, faeces, or both; and over time, it leads to chronic medical problems.

This WEDNESDAY has been the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, and the UNFPA says it remains committed to support the Ministry of Health to ensure accessibility of fistula repair facilities to affected women.

The world body says mothers with fistula often suffer exclusion in the society, and they endure depression as well as poverty because they cannot work with the condition.

Many of the women lose their husbands and families, further driving them into poverty; while the isolation often leaves them unnoticed by policy makers and little action taken to address their condition.

UNFPA Country Representative ESTHER MUIA says they have restored the dignity of at least 397 ZIMBABWEAN women, who are now living normal lives today, since the program began in 2015.

However, the UN medical expert says more needs to be done to ensure the facilities are easily accessible to women suffering from Obstetric Fistula regardless of their location in ZIMBABWE./Sabanews/cam

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