Obstetric Fistula Surgical Repair Gives Life to Victims.
Obstetric Fistula has been described as the “most devastating birth injury” by the World Health Organization (WHO). This condition which occurs from obstructed labour results in continuous and uncontrollable leaking of urine or fecal matter.
Some of the major contributors to this maternal condition are prolonged labour where the baby fails to go through the pelvis, unavailability of maternal healthcare, malnutrition of the pelvis, and unsafe birth practices. Child marriages have also been pointed out as a major contributor owing to the underdevelopment of the pelvis in teenage mothers.
According to Amnesty International, the exact number of women and girls in Zimbabwe who have experienced obstetric fistula while giving birth is unknown. Though Zimbabwe has a Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) of 651 for every 100 000 live births, it can be expected there is a devastating prevalence and incidence rate of obstetric fistula in the country.
Senior health officials in Zimbabwe have estimated as many as 50 women and girls suffer pregnancy-related morbidities – including obstetric fistula – every day. 20 WHO indicates that generally, the number of maternal injuries or ‘morbidities’ may be up to 30 times higher than the number of maternal deaths.
As hopeless as the situation may seem, the Ministry of Health and Child Care working together with UNFPA, Women, and Health Alliance International (WAHA) and partners, has provided access to surgical fistula repair camps. The program focuses on providing obstetric fistula corrective surgeries at Mashoko Hospital in Masvingo and Chinhoyi hospital. These camps provide surgical repair for free. The repairs have given hope to victims of obstetric fistula, the repairs have given them life.
Speaking to this publication Dr. Lucy Gondongwe who is the Deputy Director of Reproductive Health with the Ministry of Health said about two million women in Sub-Saharan African suffer from this condition and therefore women must not shy away from it but rather come out and get assistance and be treatable.
Dr. Lucy further explained that the condition is as much preventable as it is treatable and that it is purely a medical condition with about 70% to 80% cases corrected in the hands of a good surgeon.
Women who suffer from this condition are encouraged to call the toll-free number and book for the repair surgery. The toll number is 08080321
To get more information on obstetric fistula listen to the podcast https://soundcloud.com/zimcorv/demystifying-obstetric-fistula-podcastYouTube: https://t.co/wMYhSI9HIt (Part 1) https://youtu.be/WUq0tvxuFMY (Part 2)
This article was made possible through sponsorship from WAN-IFRA Women in News, Social Impact Reporting Initiative. The views in the article do not reflect those of WAN-IFRA WIN.