First Lady launches partnership to repair more fistula cases in Ghana

First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo has launched a seven-year Partnership for the Elimination of Obstetric Fistula in Ghana (PEFIG) in Accra to accelerate the repair of fistula cases.

The partnership will from now to 2030 garner support from the public sector, the United Nations (UN), the private sector, NGOs, community actors, and individuals to strengthen routine fistula repair as part hospital services.

It will also organize fistula repair campaigns in selected areas to accelerate the clearing of backlog of fistula cases in communities.

The PEFIG seeks to mobilize resources for about 200 fistula cases to be repaired yearly at the cost of one thousand dollars per each case, up above the annual repair of 100 cases.

It is also expected to explore socio-economic reintegration of fistula survivors into their communities.

The first lady said, Obstetric Fistula (OF) was one of the worse things that could happen to any woman as women with the condition were often ostracized and consequently lose their dignity and

‘The anticipated joy turns into a very difficult situation, a sense of shame and worthlessness ensues, this is worsened by the stigma and discrimination from their own spouses, families and community members,’ she said.

She stressed the need for the partnership and stakeholders to work hard to bridge the gap between the current fistula repairs of 100 cases out of the actual numbers of about 1,300 new fistula cases recorded in Ghana every year.

Obstetric Fistula is a medical condition in which a hole develops between the vagina, rectum and or the bladder as a result of [prolonged and or obstructed labour.

Women and girls who have fistula have uncontrollable leak urine and or feaces through the birth canal and vagina, as a result, they have sores and unpleasant smell that makes them isolate from family and the community.

The condition can be prevented through delaying the age of first pregnancy, cessation of harmful traditional practices that exposes girls to the risk of fistula.

Dr Wilfred Oc
han, Country Representative of the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA), said women and girls from rural areas, semi-illiterate and of poor socio-economic standing were mostly affected by fistula.

He said fistula repairs must be integrated into routine health care delivery in Ghana, especially in areas with high prevalence in order to expand access to services for the fistula victims.

‘We need the partnership to equip more facilities, train more surgical teams and in mobilizing the patients, just imagine 10 more hospitals could do routine repairs of just five or 10 cases per month for the year,’ he said.

Dr Ochan said the partnership was a loose non binding arrangement but allowed partners to marshal resources and coordinate with the Ghana Health Service on the national management of fistula in Ghana.

He thanked the World Food Programme, Access Bank, MTN, Fidelity Bank, AT Telecommunications, and Ghana Health Service, National Population Council, and Media and Communications Advocacy Network (MCAN) for
being a part of the partnership.

Source: Ghana News Agency