Health News of 2014-01-16

28 Undergo free fistula surgery

Twenty-eight women have undergone successful operations to correct their obstetric fistula conditions. Obstetric fistula (also known as vaginal fistula) is a medical condition in which a hole develops between either the rectum and vagina or between the bladder and vagina after severe or failed childbirth, when adequate medical care is not available.

The women were drawn from all over the country. Nine of them came from the Upper East, five from the Upper West 11 from the Central and three from the Volta regions. The youngest is 19 years and the oldest is 60 years.

Minister’s concern

In a speech read on her behalf by the acting Director of the Department of Gender, Mrs Catherine Bob-Miller, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, said the initiative is aimed at providing treatment and care for women and girls suffering from obstetric fistula, as part of efforts to address women’s reproductive health needs. The programme to support women and girls suffering from obstetric fistula was held at the Mercy Women’s Centre at Mankessim in the Central Region.

The package, she said, also included the re-integration of the women back into the society for them to enjoy normal life. Nana Oye added: “It is my dream to get 200 fistula patients repaired and reintegrated by mid 2014”.

The programme was done with financial support from the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre (EGDC), through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, in collaboration with the obstetric fistula teams from the Korle Bu and the Komfo Anokye Teaching hospitals, and the Mercy Women’s Centre in Mankessim.

Reintegration of fistula women

Nana Oye Lithur said it was important that the hopes and dreams of those who suffered from the condition were renewed in order to ensure their full reintegration into the society. She added that in order for women who had undergone treatment to return to full and productive lives after the surgery, the ministry was looking at providing support for them through the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) facility, which would help them to be economically empowered after the surgery.

“We have already done our needs assessment survey while they were on admission. We have already compiled these needs which range from hair dressing to farming for the needed action. In the interim, the ministry will give a token sum of money to start with while LEAP processes your needs,” she added.

Obstetric fistula, she said, had serious detrimental consequences for gender relations and the attainment of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

That, she said, therefore, made it more imperative to continue to collaborate with all stakeholders concerned and ensure that fistula conditions among women and girls would become history in our sub-region, as many more of those patients were mobilised for repair and re-integration back in to the society for them to enjoy life, which was a God-given gift to every person.

Source: graphic.com.gh
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