- Written by by Queen Munguti for Kenyakidz
The Flying Doctors Society of Africa and the Freedom from Fistula Foundation have come together to hold a free medical fistula camp in a bid to educate Kenyan women on the condition as well as treat those currently living with it.
“As we open this free camp for affected women in Nairobi and its environs, we want to acknowledge the gains made in the fight against the condition,” said Kenyatta National Hospital lead fistula surgeon and obstetrician Dr. Khisa Weston.
In Kenya, there are an estimated 3000 cases of fistula each year, which are attributed to prolonged labour due to negligence during child birth or unattended birth as well as the lack of emergency obstetric care facilities in many hospitals across the country. It is especially rampant in areas where early childhood marriages are common.
This medical camp which began on 17th June will run until 2nd July. Its main aim is to get many fistula patients operated on at no cost. Last year, when the campaign ran at the Kenyatta National Hospital’s Clinic, 1517 patients were treated and 230 were operated on.
“VVF (vesicovaginal fistula) remains a big problem in Kenya despite the current intervention measures; only 7.5 per cent of those affected are able to access medical care for the condition,” said Dr. Eunice Kiereini Chairperson, Flying Doctors Society of Africa. “This calls for the adoption of a holistic approach that combines improved access to treatment, post-surgery support including counseling and surgeon training in order to help those living with the condition overcome the stigma and unwarranted barriers.”
The lack of specialized doctors has also greatly hindered fistula treatment and prevention in the country.
Other than training in fistula repair, the foundation called for the training of health care providers especially doctors, midwives and nurses on secondary prevention with an emphasis on the key areas health providers need to pay attention to in cases of obstructed labor.
However, should a fistula develop it can be operated within six weeks of delivery as opposed to the usual 3 months.