To kick start the Initiative of repairing 100 obstetric fistula cases in 100 day, 100 in 100 Initiative, eight cases have been repaired at the Mercy Women’s Clinic in Mankessim, in the Central Region.
The eight cases were selected from the Mfantseman District after carefully recruited and registered for the surgery. Though 10 patients were recruited, only eight, turned up for the surgery.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in an interview, Dr Gabriel Ganyaglo, an Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and the a member of the team of Fistula Repairers, said a study was carried out by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in 2015, estimated that about 1300 new cases of fistula occurred every year and yet only less than 100 cases are repaired each year.
“This means that about 1, 200 cases are left without care annually and that leaves the Ghana Health Service and its partners such as UNFPA, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MOGCSP), and Civil Society Organisations have very little to do”.
He explained that UNFPA together with the National Obstetric Taskforce and the GHS launched a National Obstetric Fistula Prevention and Management Strategy in 2017 and the 100 in 100 initiative was part of the implementation strategy.
The objectives of the initiative is to repair 100 obstetric fistula in 100 days, create awareness of obstetric fistula and mobilize funds for fistula repairs.
He explained that the Access Bank came to their aid and was able to mobilise GH¢250,000.00 to support surgical repairs of about 100 women who suffer from fistula in Makessim.
It is estimated that the average cost of fistula treatment including surgery and post-operative care, is approximately $700, which is well beyond the reach of most women with the condition.
Dr Ganyaglo noted that MOGCSP had played a pivotal role in mobilising the patients for the surgery and the financial support from Access Bank had also made it a reality and this had put smiles back on the faces of these women.
Obstetric Fistula is a distressing complication of prolonged, obstructed labour, resulting in the leakage of urine or faeces or both through the vagina.
The smell of the leaking urine, faeces or both is constant and humiliating. This, if left untreated, could lead to chronic medical problems including ulcerations and kidney diseases.
Dr Ganyaglo advised women who suffer from fistula conditions to report to the health facility and families who have such patients should take them to the health facility for the necessary assistance.
“We should not hide them nor stigmatise them, since the stigma and shame alone can kill them. They need our love and assistance to have the fistula repaired and be integrated back into society”, he added.
He also called on other institutions to support the initiative financially to repair more cases and put smiles back on their faces of victims.