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Access Bank Ghana launches ‘Fist against Fistula’ campaign

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Tue, 7 Aug 2018 Source:

Access Bank Ghana has today launched a massive campaign against fistula infection in the country.

The campaign dubbed “Fist against Fistula” aims at treating over hundred women affected with the disease and integrating them back into the society.

Fistula, which is an abnormal connection between two hollow spaces (technically, two epithelialized surfaces), such as blood vessels, intestines, or other hollow organs, has witness a steady growth in the country especially in the Ashanti, Central and three regions of the north.

Caused by injury, surgery or an infection; the condition has led to many women being stigmatized, driven from society or a break up in their marriage.

Available statistics indicates that, about one thousand, three hundred new cases of Fistula are recorded every year with less than hundred cases being repaired. This means that, about one thousand, two hundred cases are left without care annually.

Speaking at the launch of the “Fist against Fistula” campaign held in Accra, Managing Director for Access Bank Ghana, Kris Ifeanyi Njoku said the desire by the bank to help fight the menace was in line with its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of helping the poor and marginalized in the society that is women and children especially in the areas of health and education.

Estimating the average cost of fistula treatment including surgery and post-operative care to be between $700-$1000, Mr. Njoku said the bank was ready to assist hundred women affected and see to their integration back into the society after the surgery.

“Access bank for the past few years have been fighting for women empowerment, making this initiative a key focus for us. The reports about fistula are shocking. It is real and it is affecting our women. The rate at which it is also growing is very alarming, not only here in Ghana but worldwide. As a bank we are aware of the efforts being made by UNFPA together with the National Obstetric Taskforce to fight this canker and we believe that more can be done. It is obvious that this condition affects the less privilege and that is why everyone is needed to join the fight. So from today, Access bank has chosen to become an advocate for the fight against fistula and we are also partnering the Mercy Women’s Clinic in Mankessim, in the Central Region and other hospitals to provide the surgery needed by affected women. This project will be our Corporate Social Responsibility for the next one year.”

On her part, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba who was also the special guest of honor at the event lauded Access Bank for the initiative and pledged her ministry together with government’s support. She urged patients suffering from fistula to report to the nearest hospitals or get in touch with Access Bank for treatment.

“People need to stop shaming victims of fistula and stop stigmatizing them. It is not their fault. They also need love and support. My ministry has also set up a helpline that anyone can call for free. Once you get in touch with us, we will help you get the help you need. Access Bank has promised to help people, but because of the fear some have even gone into hiding or even locked themselves up, it’s therefore up to us to even go out there, find people with fistula and tell them the good news, that there is help for them and there is also hope. Anyone interested can also partner with Access Bank. The records say it’s only thousand three hundred people that are affected annually, which means it is something that can easily be taken care of. As a country we can beat this, we can surely win this fight.”

While there are many types of the condition affecting women, the most common types in Ghana include: Arteriovenous Fistula which is an abnormal connection between an artery and a vein, Anal Fistula which is an infected tunnel between the skin and the anus and the Obstetric Fistula which is the abnormal connection between the rectum and the vagina. Early symptoms include painful urination and rectal bleeding which must be reported immediately.

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