Flying Doctors’ Society of Africa and M-PESA Foundation in collaboration with the Nyeri County Government held a Free Female Genital Fistula (FGF) Medical Camp from Friday 18th – 23rd November 2021 at the Nyeri County Referral Hospital.
The second phase of this year’s 2021 Free Fistula surgery in Nyeri County Referral Hospital saw over 60 women suffering from Obstetric Fistula benefit.
The main aim is to support women with Obstetric Fistula and provide them with free medical treatment.
In Kenya, fistula accounts for 6% of most maternal death and prenatal loss only if left untreated. Fistula manifests itself as an abnormal communication between the urinary bladder and the vagina that leads to uncontrollable leakage of urine and faecal matter.
The development of obstetric fistula is directly linked to one of the major causes of maternal mortality: obstructed labour. It is the most devastating of all pregnancy-related injuries; home deliveries and early marriages and due to cultural practices limited resources; many women are unable to seek treatment. With the camp, the partners are seeking to break the barriers and restore dignity to the women of Nyeri County and other counties who can make their way to Nyeri.
Women who experience obstetric fistula suffer constant incontinence, shame, social segregation and health problems. However, with the new government policy on the implementation of free ante-natal and maternity services, the numbers are expected to drop because of accessibility to maternal services. Preventing and managing Obstetric Fistula contributes to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development Goal 3, of Ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all at all ages
- There are an estimated 3,000 new cases of fistula each year in Kenya, with only 7.5% able to access medical care for the condition
- A UNFPA report released in 2004 estimates the backlog of fistula cases to be as high as 300,000
- Each year between 50,000 to 100,000 women worldwide are affected by obstetric fistula
- Since 2006, approximately 4,000 women in Kenya suffering from VVF have undergone successful surgeries
- Fistula repair in a public hospital costs between Ksh. 50,000 and Ksh. 90,000 and in a private hospital between Ksh. 250,000 and Ksh. 450,000
- For every woman who dies from pregnancy-related complications, 20 women survive but experience terrible injuries and disabilities
- One woman dies from pregnancy-related complications every minute worldwide; 95% of them live in Africa and Asia
- Number of new obstetric fistula cases resulting from childbirth occurring worldwide each year: 100,000
- Fistula treatment is greatly hampered by the lack of specialized doctors to prevent and treat the condition.
- Besides training in fistula repair, it is very important to train health care providers particularly Doctors, Midwives and Nurses on secondary prevention emphasizing the key areas health providers need to pay attention to in cases of obstructed labor.
- These include
- Fix the catheter and leave it in for 4-6 weeks
- Advice mother to drink five or more litres of water per day
- Advice on Sitz Baths
- Do a speculum examination within the first week and clear any debris
- With these four interventions, 15-20% of fistula can heal spontaneously. However, should a fistula develop it can be operated within six weeks of delivery (as opposed to the usual 3 months) to prevent the woman from becoming an outcast.