The Women Education and Health for Development (WOHED) organization in Garissa has urged all women in the region who are suffering from Fistula to come out and receive free treatment at the Garissa Referral Hospital.
Fistula is an abnormal opening between a woman’s genital tract and her urinary tract or rectum which makes it impossible for them to hold urine or stool leaving them in constant suffering from shame, social segregation and health problems.
Speaking during celebrations to mark the International Fistula day in Garissa today, WOHED’s Antony Njoroge said that the organization in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Fistula Foundation are sensitizing the communities to stop stigma against victims.
“Since 2019 we have had 399 Fistula cases where 185 have been successfully treated. Fistula is treatable and can be corrected through surgery,” Njoroge said.
“We have been having challenges because some of the victims do not want to come out and receive treatment for fear of stigmatization. We have to go to their homes, sensitize them on the importance of treatment before bringing them in for surgery,” he added.
Fatuma Maalim who is leading in community sensitization through radio programmes and community health volunteers said that the organization is creating full awareness on the need to stop stigmatization and allow Fistula patients to go for medication.
Hafsa Mohamed regretted that some cultural practices in the area such as FGM and early marriages are the leading causes of Fistula.
“FGM is a dangerous cultural practice. I urge everyone in our communities to unite against FGM so that we eradicate Fistula,” Hafsa said.
“We are urging those who are confined in their houses to come out and receive treatment. Fistula is not a shame but a condition that comes as a result of prolonged labour, rape or FGM. You can start your life afresh after treatment,” she added.
Noor Abdillahi, an elder and a resident whose wife got Fistula during the birth of their second child in 2004 after a prolonged labour told KNA that the wife received full treatment after medical interventions were made.
He urged his fellow elders to help their wives or daughters who fall victims of Fistula instead of neglecting them and confining them in their houses.
“We need to stop early child marriages. Underage girls who are sometimes being married off to older men are not biologically ready to conceive and give birth because it pushes their muscles beyond limit,” Abdillahi said.
By Erick Kyalo