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General News Thu, 23 May 2019

Ghana joins the world to mark International Day to End Obstetric Fistula

Ghana will tomorrow join the rest of the world to mark International Day to End Obstetric Fistula with a press briefing at the Ghana International Press Centre, on May 23, 2019.

The day, under the theme: “Fistula is a human rights violation – end it now! would address the need for Fistula patients to have right to treatment and not to be violated.

Institutions to attend the event would include the Ghana Health Service, UNFPA, National Obstetric Fistula Task Force and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, Dr Gabriel Ganyaglo Member of the National Fistula Task Team said many women and girls who suffered from obstetric fistula, an injury of the birth canal after prolonged and obstructed were subjected to isolation, shame and segregation.

He said due to poverty, they were unable to receive prompt medical treatment and that deprived them of their health and dignity and described that as a violation of their human rights.

“No woman or girl should be deprived of her dignity, hopes and dreams. It is their right “We should not hide them or stigmatize them since the stigma and shame alone can kill them. They need our love and assistance to have the fistula repaired and be integrated back into society”, Dr Ganyaglo added.

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Obstetric Fistula is a distressing complication of prolonged, obstructed labour, resulting in the leakage of urine or faeces or both through the vagina.

The smell of the leaking urine, faeces or both is constant and humiliating. This, if left untreated, could lead to chronic medical problems including ulcerations and kidney diseases.

In Ghana, it is estimated that the average cost of fistula treatment including surgery and post-operative care, is approximately $700, which is well beyond the reach of most women with the condition.

A study, carried out by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in 2015, estimated that about 1,300 new cases of fistula occurred every year and yet, only less than 100 cases are repaired each year leaving 1, 200 cases without care.

The UNFPA together with the National Obstetric Taskforce and the GHS launched a National Obstetric Fistula Prevention and Management Strategy in 2017 and the 100 in 100 initiative was part of the implementation strategy.

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Dr Ganyaglo advised women who suffer from fistula conditions to report to the health facility and families who have such patients should take them to the health facility for the necessary assistance.

He called on other institutions to support the initiative financially to repair more cases and put smiles back on the faces of the victims.

Each year, between 50,000 to 100,000 women worldwide are affected by obstetric fistula, with an estimation of more than 2 million young women living with untreated obstetric fistula in Asia and sub- Saharan Africa.

The menace is a historical issue in the developed world. However, it is still prevalent in poor resource countries like Ghana. This is based on the fact that, about 2 million women in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia are still suffering from the disorder.

Meanwhile, it has been eliminated in Europe and America whiles women in developing countries continue to suffer in silence.

Source: ghananewsagency.org