Thirty-one women suffering from obstetric fistula have successfully undergone free repair surgery at the Mercy Women’s Hospital, a fistula centre at Mankessim in the Central Region.
The 40 women who were mobilised by the Gender Department of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection were undergoing treatment at a cost of about GH¢2,000 each with funding from the Economic Community of West Africa States Gender Development Centre.
Obstetric fistula, considered an accident of childbirth, happens as a result of prolonged obstructed labour and the condition leaves many women uncontrollably leaking urine or faeces as a result of which they are stigmatised or ostracised.
Last Friday, Ghana and the rest of the world observed the second World Fistula Day to highlight the untold hardships faced by women who end up with the condition just because, as women, they must perform their reproductive function of childbearing.
The women were drawn from the Central, Brong Ahafo, Upper East, Upper West, Eastern, Northern and the Volta regions.
They would also be assisted to re-integrate into their society after recovery.
The Minister of Gender Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, made this known yesterday when she paid a visit to the hospital to acquaint herself with the state of the women who were receiving treatment at the centre.
It was also to interact with the officials of the hospital on what their challenges were and see how the ministry could provide some assistance to make their work easier.
In her remarks during the visit, the minister indicated that fistula was unique to women hence the decision by the ministry to offer assistance to the women to live normal lives.
She indicated that most of the women who suffered from the disease were stigmatised by society and families although it was not their fault that they were in that situation
Nana Oye advised the public not to stigmatise women who were suffering from the disease.
“I will urge Ghanaians to support women who, for one reason or the other, are suffering from fistula,” she said.
She called on women who were going through that condition to contact the Gender Department of the ministry to be put on the list for fistula repairs.
She also called on society to welcome the women after they had undergone the treatment to make life easier for them.
The Medical Superintendent of the Hospital, Dr Patrick Yamoah, said poverty, some cultural practices and inaccessibility to healthcare facilities were some of the causes of the disease and advised that women sought adequate health care during pregnancy.
The major challenge confronting the centre, he said, was mobilising all women who had been affected by the disease for medical care.
That according to Dr Yamoah was because women affected by the disease often went into hiding for fear of stigmatisation.
The Director of the Department of Gender, Mrs Catherine Bob-Miller, said the ministry would soon embark on a nationwide exercise to create awareness of the disease with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Some of the women who interacted with the Daily Graphic expressed their profound gratitude to the ministry and the hospital for the support.
Source: Daily Graphic