6 December 2010

Uganda: 250,000 Women Receive Free Fistula Treatment

OVER 250, 000 women in Uganda are suffering from fistula, a situation where urine flows continuously without control, the commissioner for health services, Dr. Jacinto Amandwa, has said.

He said most of the women experiencing this complication are either hiding, or are ignorant about the measures to cure it.

Addressing health workers and victims of fistula at Kitovu Hospital in Masaka district on Friday, Amandwa said about 300 women with fistula are operated on annually.

"At this rate, it would take over 110 years to wipe fistula out of the country," Amandwa said, adding that the major challenge was that more women were developing it.

The programme was funded by the health ministry through the Engender health Fistula care project.

Fistula affects women who experience prolonged labour pains, normally resulting into the death of babies during delivery.

Mary Asiko Kirunda, a mid-wife at Mbarara hospital said some fistula patients lose control over their passage of human waste such as urine and feaces.

Asiko was one of the counsellors who attended to these women before and after the operated upon at Kitovu.

Whereas most of the women who turned up for this treatment attributed the problem to witchcraft, Asiko assured them that it resulted from obstructed labour, especially among young girls who get pregnant when their pelvic bones are small and cannot manage to deliver.

Edith Rona Mukisa, the country manager of Engender Health, said over $420 (about sh900,000) was spent on each of the 49 women who were operated upon.

"In Kitovu alone, we have repaired about 1,400 women, while in Kagando Hospital, we have operated about 1,600 women," Mukisa said.

She noted that 39 doctors, 25 theatre nurses and 39 ward nurses had been trained to run the programme.

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