Govt offering free vaginal repair at KNH
20 June 2016, 13:39
Nairobi - It is estimated that up to 3,000 new cases of obstetric fistula occur annually in Kenya, despite government offering free maternity service.
Obstetric fistula is a medical condition which affects expectant mothers as a result of prolonged or obstructed labour. When an expectant woman suffers prolonged labour, a tear between the vagina and the urinary tract occurs leading to the formation of the Obstetric Fistula (either urinary or faecal) where the stool and urine get mixed during bowel movement.
Health Cabinet secretary, Dr Cleopa Mailu who presided over this year’s launch of Vesico-Vaginal Fistula Repair Camp held at Kenyatta National Hospital called for a change in tact in addressing the challenge of Obstetric Fistula.
“I note that maternal morbidity is more common than maternal deaths. Therefore, assessment of severe maternal morbidities also called ‘near misses’ are a more feasible strategy for evaluating maternal health.”
Obstetric fistula can be prevented by delivering under skilled care and prompt identification of obstructed labour, usually through careful monitoring of labour with partographs coupled with other modern appliances.
Dr Mailu also added that the ministry of health has created a robust community and newborn care package that promotes health education at the community level to raise awareness on maternal newborn and child health.
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The ministry of health hopes the package together with the free maternity services, managed equipment scheme and beyond zero campaign programmes rolled out to achieve the reproductive health care as has been envisioned in Kenya’s vision 2030 will go a long way in addressing Obstetric Fistula in the country.
Once a woman develops obstetric fistula, she is faced with a myriad of challenges including self and social stigma, gross impairment of their ability to function in society, among other medical consequences of obstetric fistula.
The Kenya demographic health survey 2014 shows that 62 percent of pregnant women in Kenya deliver under skilled care though there are wide regional differences in these indicators on access to maternal health services.
The Vesico-Vaginal Fistula repair camp is sponsored by the flying doctors under the Freedom from Fistula banner and supported by the KNH in conjunction with Royal Media Services.
Freedom from Fistula campaign seeks to restore dignity to women who have suffered from vesico-vaginal fistula by offering free reconstructive surgery to stop leaking of urine/stool at the KNH clinic 66.
Globally, there are between 2 and 3.5 million cases of obstetric fistula with over 70,000 new cases occurring annually.
The vesico-vaginal repair camp will run from June 17 to July 2, 2016.
Vaginal repair is conducted free of charge at the Kenyatta National Hospital and the ministry of health has urged Kenyans suffering from Obstetric Fistula to take advantage of the initiative and report to the hospital for treatment.
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