LILONGWE (Malawi NewsNow) – Malawi has announced new measures and controls systems in fighting against Obstetric Fistula in the country to restoring hope, human rights and dignity of women.
The revelations were made during the media personnel workshop on Obstetric Fistula in Lilongwe.
Obstetric Fistula is one of the most serious and tragic childbirth injuries leading to a hole between the birth canal and bladder or rectum caused by prolonged (over six hours), obstructed labour. It leaves women leaking urine and faeces and often leads to depression and social isolation due to smell that comes with the condition.
The workshop was organised by the Ministry of Health with support from UNFPA, Freedom from Fistula Foundation of Bwaila Centre and AMREF health Africa.
Project Officer for Freedom Fistula Foundation in Malawi, Ms Grace Hiwa, bemoaned factors of Prolonged Obstructed labour (baby’s head too big, small birth canal), pressure Necrosis (tissue deaths), and Fetal death (baby dies) causes Fistula.
“The prevalence varies from 0.064 per 1000 to 1.6 per 1000 women. This means that an estimated prevalence ration increasing to 20,000 women with Fistula in Malawi hence a media orientation for more campaigns”, lamented Hiwa.
Director of Reproductive Health in the Ministry of Health, Funny Kachale pointed out that “Fistula is a big problem for us here in Malawi.”
She also explained that Government has put in place number of strategies to end the problem.
Kachale mentioned number of strategies; encouraging women to attend antenatal care at an early stage, encouraging nurses to monitor progress of labour, discourage women from delivering at Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA), as ways government is using to preventing women from developing Obstetric Fistula
She further explains that Government is also carrying out number of efforts to assist women who have fistula.
“We are training health workers cadre of Clinical Officers to repair Fistula and operating fistula through Obstetric Camps that we do twice a year.”
The development also comes a few months after Bwaila Fistula Care Centre Unit almost announced similar measures, during Fistula Ambassadors ceremony attended by Bwaila Country Program Coordinator Maglet Moyo.
Moyo previous highlighted that focus is need on Fistula as it causes severe disability and associated consequences of discrimination, abandonment, marginalized and insecurity amongst women and young girls.
Dorothy Nyasulu-Assistant Representative at UNFPA said UNFPA consider media as a very strategic partner in access to information on sexual reproductive health which includes Obstetric Fistula.
Nyasulu noted that many people in the country rely on media to access to correct and adequate information.
She therefore said it was necessary to train the media on Fistula as a way of addressing the problem.