260 Malawi women treated from Fistula since 2008

The Freedom from Fistula Foundation (FfFF) says it has managed to repair 260 women with fistula since the centre started its operations in 2008.

Disclosing this to reporters at a news conference in Lilongwe on Tuesday, Dr Jeffrey Wilkinson,  board certified Obstetrician Gynecologist and faculty member at the University of North Carolina and currently working in Malawi, said apart from repairing 260 women with fistula, the centre has also managed to screen 450 women with the condition and re-admitted young mothers to secondary schools.

“The centre has also managed to re-admit four young mothers with the condition to secondary school and we would like to call upon women with the condition who don’t know where to go with the problem  to come to Bwaila hospital as soon as they can so that we screen them for possible repair,”said Dr Wilkinson.

An operation to correct Fistula

According to Wilkinson, only three percent of the women who have the condition cannot be repaired.

“The condition is repairable but at times you cannot repair due to serious problems, however it is only three percent of the cases that cannot be repaired,” he said.

Fistula is a condition whereby a woman develops an abnormal opening between a woman’s bladder and vagina and, or rectum through which urine and or faeces continually leak due to child bearing. This leads to social isolation and shame.

Even though the condition is repairable, it is reported that 70 percent of the women who have the condition will never have children again after repair.

See doctors early

“We advise them not to have children again after repair but if a woman falls pregnant again, the advice is they should come to the hospital earlier so that we take them for Caesarean Section, because that’s the best option we can do,” said Wilkinson.

According to Meria Solomon, a 35 year old mother who has been repaired from the condition, said most of the women who develop the condition normally don’t have husbands as they are divorced due to their condition.

“It is a bad condition and shameful because a woman produces odour every time and men run away from their wives for fear of getting embarrassed by fellow men,” she said.

Wilkinson said about 2,000 new cases of fistula are reported in Malawi. Two to eight women are at risk of developing the condition during child birth in every 1,000 women.

What is pleasing according to Wilkinson is that centre now has a resident surgeon unlike before when the centre had been using a visiting surgeon. Wilkinson came at the centre in July this year.

About FfFF

FfFF is a Scottish charity organisation whose vision is to have all women in Africa to have access to health care during pregnancy and child birth and help them eradicate obstetric fistula.

It  has operational centres in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Kenya and Malawi. State President Joyce Banda will officially open the centre on Thursday.

Apart from repairing women with the condition, FFFF will also raise awareness on the condition as well as educate health care providers at all levels on the care of women with obstetric fistula among others.

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