Obstetric fistula is one of the most serious and tragic childbirth injuries that many women suffer from especially in developing countries including Kenya.
The condition is mostly caused by prolonged obstructed labor, poor access to medical care, malnutrition and teenage pregnancies.
Consequently, Bungoma County governor’s wife Carolyne Wanagamati has started a programme to help women who suffer from the disease by organizing medical camps in various health facilities in the region.
Speaking in Mt. Elgon sub county hospital Friday, where she held a meeting with community health volunteers to spearhead forthcoming screening event at the facility next week, Mrs. Wangamati said she was keen on bringing medical camps closer to the people because many women suffering from the condition may not be able to travel to facilities where they could get treatment.
This is because of the condition makes women unable to control their bowel movements, thus making them uncomfortable to travel for long distances and interact freely with other members of the community.
The governor’s wife noted that the only facility which offers fistula screening in the region was in Webuye sub county hospital, which may not be accessible to every woman in the county, hence the need to build more centres across the county.
Meanwhile, the screening camp will be done on a rotational basis across the county for a whole week beginning Monday, August 12 at Naitiri hospital, Cheptais hospital (Tuesday) and Mt. Elgon sub county hospital at Kapsokwony (Wednesday).
The screening will then move to Kopsiro Health Centre (Thursday) and Sirisia Health Centre (Friday) before a general medical camp at Bumula Hospital on August 21and 22.
Mrs. Wangamati also announced that there will be cervical and breast cancer screening in those medical camps and therefore residents should turn up in large numbers to benefit from the services which will be absolutely free.
She added that Bungoma county government is working hard to ensure that screening services are provided in every public facility in the near future so that cancer can be detected at an early level for easier treatment.
The governor’s spouse noted that the county government was also in negotiations with other Non- Governmental health organizations such as AMPATH to come up with a Memorandum of Understanding so that the organizations can help in training of medical practitioners to deal effectively with cancer.
Mrs. Wangamati said that so far the programme has been a success because a total of 40 people were treated in the first phase of the programme where 33 of them underwent successful surgeries and 7 cryotherapies.
She added that they are targeting over 140 patients in the second phase with at least 10 patients set to benefit from every facility that they will conduct screening.
Meanwhile, residents are being urged to turn up in large numbers at the designated health facilities close to them on the planned dates so that they can benefit from those services.
By Douglas Mudambo and Sylvia Nyongesa