EU urges Malawi to clear backlog of Fistula cases in public hospitals

The European Union (EU) has urged the Malawi government to urgently clear and address the growing backlog of fistula cases in public health facilities across the country.

Watabe: Malawi has a backlog of many fistula patients.-Photo by Watipatso Mzungu, Nyasa Times
A mid wife at Bwaila Hospital gives a talk on Fitsula prevention .-Photo by Watipatso Mzungu, Nyasa Times
Women who had successfully undergone Fitsula repairing dance away the condition.-Photo by Watipatso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

EU programme manager Odram Hayes said it is sad that while other countries, especially in Europe, have succeeded in eliminating it, the condition remains one of most prevalent monsters besetting Malawi’s health sector.

Hayes made the remarks at the close of the second 2019 fistula camp in Lilongwe on Monday.

“Malawi urgently needs in-country surgeons to carry out fistula repairs and address the growing backlog of patients that we register at every fistula camp. Obstetric fistula can be beaten. Other countries, especially in Europe, have succeeded in eliminating it,” he said.

However, Hayes stressed that this calls for strong commitment from the Malawi Government as well as its citizenry to end harmful practices that contribute to the rise in fistula cases such as sexual and gender-based violence.

He said Malawi needs to commit themselves to provide competent and motivated health professionals with skills to prevent, repair, and support social re-integration of women and girls in their communities.

“The good news is that measures are being taken to address the root causes of this situation, and in turn, contribute to the prevention of obstetric fistula. The revision of the legal age to marry to 18 is a positive step in protecting girls. In addition, the EU-funded Spotlight Initiative, in partnership with the United Nations, is also contributing to the restoration of women’s dignity,” he said.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) deputy representative, Masaki Watabe, disclosed that Malawi has a backlog of many fistula patients with both simple and complicated conditions waiting for their turns to be repaired.

Watabe stressed that these women and girls are among the most marginalised and neglected in the society, with the persistence of fistula giving a grave illustration of serious inequalities and the denial of rights and dignity.

“Repairing fistula women is costly. It is estimated to cost US$1,200 (over K800, 000) per woman in a camp setting. The EU contribution directly supported women from Nsanje, Machinga, Ntchisi and Mzimba with 11 of them coming from the Spotlight Initiative impact districts,” he said.

In her remarks, the Lilongwe Director of Health and Social Services, Dr. Alinafe Mbewe, said the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Freedom from Fistula Foundation (FfFF) has continued to develop and expand fistula healthcare services such as training of clinical staff on operating and care of fistula patients.

Mbewe further stated that the ministry is training midwives in maternal healthcare as a means to prevent incidences of fistula among women of child-bearing age.

Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :

Sharing is caring!

Follow us in Twitter
Read previous post:
UTM councillor addresses DPP rally, says Mutharika won elections ‘time to move on’

UTM  Party Councillor for Tukombo Ward, who is also Chairperson for Nkhata Bay District Council, Ackleyn Tcheya, has declared that...