• June 18, 2024
  • Last Update June 18, 2024 2:12 PM
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PS calls for targeted efforts to prevent and treat obstetric fistula

PS calls for targeted efforts to prevent and treat obstetric fistula


Friday May 24, 2024

KNA by Patrick Nyakundi/Collins Nguma

The Principal Secretary (PS) State Department of Medical Services Mr. Harry Kimtai has emphasized the urgent need to come up with comprehensive maternal health services and targeted efforts to prevent and treat obstetric fistula which is on the increase in the country.

According to the current records at the Ministry of Health, there are estimated 24,000 cases of women suffering from fistula in the country, whereby 3,000 new cases are added every year.

“Worldwide, it is estimated that over 2 million women live with untreated fistula, primarily in Sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia. Each year, between 50,000 and 100,000 new cases occur, a stark reminder of the ongoing challenge we face,” Kimtai said.

He said this at the Makueni County Referral Hospital during the Commemoration of the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula (IDEOF) on Thursday in a speech read on his behalf by Dr. Karen Aura, Division of Reproductive and Maternal Health –Fistula Lead at the Ministry of Health.

This year’s theme for IDEOF is “Breaking the Cycle: Preventing Fistula Worldwide.”

Consequently, the PS said a proactive action should be taken to ensure that every woman is provided with quality care through childbirth besides giving them support, treatment and resources they need to rebuild their lives.

In this regard, Kimtai said that it was important to raise awareness through community outreach, educational workshops, and media campaigns aimed at spreading the word about fistula besides stating causes and available treatment options.

“Awareness creation is the first step in overcoming stigma and encouraging women to seek help at health facilities. Obstetric fistula is a preventable and treatable condition, yet it continues devastating lives especially in regions with limited access to quality maternal healthcare,” the PS posed.

On resource mobilization, he called for structured engagement with stakeholders from government agencies, non-governmental organizations and private sector in a bid to gather resources needed to support women with fistula hence ensure they receive comprehensive care.

At the same time, Kimtai also said strengthening partnerships was key in bringing together healthcare providers, policymakers and community leaders to create a unified approach to addressing obstetric fistula and improve health care.

Through this collaboration of John Hopkins Programme for International Education and Gynaecology and Obstetrics (JHPIEGO), United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), Mpesa Foundation, African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) Beyond Zero and Flying Doctors Society in Africa and County Government of Makueni have organized a free camp to offer screening, diagnosis and fistula repair for two weeks.

Speaking at the same function, the county governor’s spouse Anita Mbinya Mutula pledged to advocate for fistula awareness and rectify the disparities in Obstetric care and access in Makueni County.

“As a champion for Reproductive, maternal, new born child, adolescent health and nutrition, my goal is to break down these barriers and ensure women are aware of and able to access necessary healthcare services,” said Mrs. Mutula

“Advocacy for fistula will ensure inclusion for all and address the inequality in access to quality obstetric emergency care. It will also ensure effective strategies are put in place to eradicate fistula in Kenya by 2030. Obstetric fistula is preventable and treatable, yet many continue to suffer around the world,” she said.

During the function Dr. Aura and the governor’s spouse launched a training and mentorship manual for fistula surgeons which will help more surgeons to join fistula surgery and help women living with the condition.

Present at the function include the Acting Executive Committee Member for Health Elizabeth Muli, partners, government officials and wananchi.

Courtesy; KNA

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