A fund to support women and girls who suffer from Obstetric Fistula has been set up by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and partners.

The initiative is to support national efforts at ending obstetric fistula in Ghana by 2030.

Currently, the cost of obstetric fistula treatment, including surgery, post-operative care and rehabilitation support, is pegged at approximately $500, an amount the UNFPA says is beyond the reach of most women who suffer the condition.

Obstetric Fistula

The UNFPA defines Obstetric Fistula as a childbirth injury caused by prolonged, obstructed labour, usually unassisted, where the sustained pressure of the baby’s head on the mother’s pelvic bone damages soft tissues, creating a hole—or fistula—between the vagina and the bladder or rectum, resulting in a continuous leaking of urine and faeces through the vagina.”

Commitment

At a ceremony in Accra yesterday to present the proceeds to the Ghana Health Service (GHS), the representative of UNICEF to Ghana, Dr Babatunde Ahonsi, said the UNFPA was committed to supporting national efforts to end Obstetric Fistula in Ghana. He expressed worry over the fact that the condition, which was highly preventable, was still occurring.

Dr Ahonsi observed that Ghana had a high literacy rate and a robust health sector for which reason he described the prevalence of the condition in the country as unacceptable.

“The UNFPA, in collaboration with the  Ministries of Health, Gender, Children and Social Protection and the GHS has, therefore, launched a national campaign to accelerate progress towards eliminating Obstetric Fistula in Ghana and to support survivors,” he said.

According to Dr Ahonsi, the journey to eradicate and manage Obstetric Fistula had been a difficult one, adding, “We have made some strides but we still have a long way to go to make Ghana a fistula-free country.”

He said a study carried out by the GHS in 2015 estimated that 1,300 new cases occurred every year but the UNFPA and its stakeholders were only able to treat fewer than 150 cases a year due to financial constraints.

Dr Ahonsi explained that because Ghana had become a middle-income country, sourcing funds internationally had become a challenge, since middle-income countries were expected to commit national resources to the management of such health conditions.

 Fund

The fund was set up with an initial amount of GH¢ 25,532 as proceeds from a diplomatic fashion show titled ‘the 2016 Diplomatx Runway’  organised to entertain diplomats in the country.

Diplomatx Runway was facilitated by the UNFPA, in collaboration with Gorjiours International; a fashion designing firm, the Colombian Embassy and the diplomatic community.

Special commendation has been given to the Colombian Ambassador to Ghana, Miss Claudia Turbay Quintero, for her initiative in establishing the fund.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Gorjiours International, a fashion and design establishment, Suzain Dodoo, appealed to the public to contribute to the fund to make Ghana fistula-free.

 

Source & Photo Credits: Graphiconline.com Doreen Andoh & Lisa Axelsson