The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Ministry of Health, UNFPA Step Up Campaign to End Obstetric Fistula

Nyamasheke — The ministry of Health in collaboration with United Nations Population Fund, WFP, the World Food Program and Engender Health is carrying out a campaign to treat and end obstetric fistula in women in Rwanda.

Dr. Anicet Nzabonimpa, the Family Planning and HIV integration coordinator in Ministry of Health, said that the campaign is aimed at ensuring that obstetric fistula is eliminated from the country as it was done in Europe and the United States.

"It's unacceptable that women and girls in developing countries are still suffering from fistula," he said.

Nzabonimpa said that at least 50 women are expected to be treated by Dr. Issa Labou, a urologist from Senegal, assisted by a team of Rwandan physicians during an exercise to be held at Kibogora Hospital, Nyamasheke District, Western Province from 10-21 October 2011.

He said that Obstetric fistula is a hole in the birth canal typically caused by prolonged labour without prompt emergency care-usually a Caesarean section.

'The woman is left with chronic incontinence and, in most cases, her baby is born still. Unable to control her flow of urine or faeces, she is often abandoned by her husband and shunned by the community," he said

Victoria Akyeampong, the UNFPA Representative to Rwanda, said that through this campaign launched in 2003, United Nations is committed to restoring the dignity of women.

"We commit to supporting government's efforts to fully integrate services that are permanent for on-going, continuous and holistic care of obstetric fistula cases until we entirely end this preventable and treatable condition," she said.

In the same efforts 22 women with fistula were treated at Mugonero Hospital, Karongi District from 28 August to 9 September 2011.

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