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Fistula Campaign Targets More Zimbabwe Women

  • Tatenda Gumbo

Women inside a clinic in Uganda

Women inside a clinic in Uganda

The Women and Health Alliance International, Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital, the Ministry of Health and their partners in the United Nations will next Monday launch another obstetric fistula operation campaign in Zimbabwe with plans to assist some 45 women living with the debilitating condition.

The program which will run from August 18th to August 31st will assist women throughout the country with free transportation, boarding, consultations and surgeries being provided by doctors.

An obstetric fistula is a serious internal organ injury sustained during child birth, leaving women with urinary and other internal scars.

Obstetric fistula cases range from women who have lived with the condition for over 20 years to other young women that are left with the condition after giving birth in their teens.

National coordinator of the outreach program with Women and Health Alliance International, Priscilla Mabhande, said in Zimbabwe they have seen some extreme cases, but have been able to help women throughout the country.

“We had a woman who had nine children. The 9th delivery she had was the one that caused the fistula, however she had the fistula for 27 years now. She had the operation done, she stayed in the hospital for three weeks whilst recovering and by the time she left the hospital she said to us, ‘I thank you so much the team of WAHA for 27 years the people in my village called me the old woman who smells of urine, you have restored my dignity, you have restored my humanity'.”

According to WAHA, nearly 70 women have been assisted with their fistula since the beginning of 2015.

“Of those 72, about 58 have been totally cured which means by the time they went home they were absolutely in perfect condition. However there are some women who still come to us whose bladders are so badly damaged that they cannot have a total repair and instead they are given other options,” said Mabhande.

She noted that although in these cases the women cannot be fully assisted, the program will assist them and girls as much as possible.

“We still have them, there is no problem too great or too small we want every woman to step forward and let the surgeon help them make a decision.”

WAHA will conduct this surgery campaign for over 10 days, and then return to Zimbabwe for another campaign in October 2015.

The WAHA program is part of a 5-year national campaign to end obstetric fistula in Zimbabwe, which will launch an increased number of surgeries to tend to young girls and women living with the condition.

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