The Flying Doctors Society of Africa has partnered with M-PESA Foundation, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Amref- Kenya, and International Cancer Institute (ICI) for a fistula programme targeting four counties.
Eradicating fistula is possible with proper investment in reproductive health care, including high-quality emergency obstetric care services and the availability of an y adequate number of midwives and trained, competent fistula surgeons.
The program, which was officially launched in Webuye County Hospital seeks to provide fistula treatment and surgery to over 200 women in Bungoma, Kilifi, Nyeri, and Meru counties.
Over 60 women were scheduled for surgeries during the camp in Bungoma which was organized by the county government through the Office of the county’s First Lady and the health department.
“We are determined to work with partners to eradicate fistula and we believe that this collaboration which enables women access treatment and surgery is a positive step in the journey. We will be seeking to engage the whole community including men so that they do not discriminate against women living with fistula,” said Les Baillie, Executive Director, M-PESA Foundation.
According to Ms Tanya Nduati, CEO of Flying Doctors’ Society of Africa the partnership also aims to achieve sensitization through education, information, and advocacy.
“Our programs strive to offer hope, create awareness and reduce the stigmatization of those living with fistula. We are committed to restoring the dignity of women and girls in Kenya in our efforts to contribute to Government achievement to eradicate fistula by 2030,” she said.
The fistula camps kicked off on Monday, October 4, and will run until Friday 8 October.
Extensive screening of patients has been ongoing in various health facilities to identify women for the surgery. The screening began on September 20 and included breast, cervical, and prostate cancer screening.
Dr Ademola Olajide, UNFPA representative said: “Timely access to quality emergency obstetric care and the presence of trained health professionals with midwifery skills at childbirth is the most cost-effective way to reduce maternal mortality and morbidities such as Fistula, adding that UNFPA is committed to working with the government and partners in strengthening health systems to better serve mothers and newborns.
The World Health Organization has termed fistula as the single most dramatic aftermath of neglected childbirth estimating that more than two million women live with fistula worldwide.
While fistula has been virtually eliminated in some parts of the world, many women and girls in Kenya still live with this debilitating condition.
It is estimated that there are 3,000 new fistula cases in Kenya each year, with only 7.5 per cent of these able to access medical care.
This means that every year, more than 2,700 women with new fistula cases do not receive the necessary medical attention.
Over the years, UNFPA, Beyond Zero Campaign, Safaricom Foundation, AMREF Health Africa, Flying Doctors Society of Africa, and other partners have partnered in holding fistula repair camps for women in need.