The National Government in collaboration with Makueni County through a partnership with Jhpiego has launched the first Obstetric Fistula Centre to provide specialized corrective surgeries treatment and rehabilitation services to affected women.
The surgeries will take place in the Makueni Mother and Child Hospital and will benefit women from Makueni and neighbouring Counties.
Fistula is an injury caused by lack of good care during child-birth and leads to leakage of urine and sometimes stool.
Speaking during the launch on Monday at the hospital in Wote, Makueni Deputy Governor Lucy Mulili said the facility will improve maternal health care besides restoring dignity, happiness and productivity of suffering women in the society.
“Today we are extremely grateful to launch this facility, at least 20 women have been admitted to the centre, 13 of them will be undergoing surgery immediately (from yesterday evening) while the seven will be offered physiotherapy and treatment care services,” said Mulili.
“We have a solution right here; I call upon women who are experiencing this problem to share with me or at the nearest health facility, we will facilitate you to access the services at the hospital,” noted Mulili.
She added that the centre is equipped with modern medical equipment with 11 trained health professionals to provide comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation services to affected women.
The team which includes a surgeon, two anesthetists, four nurses, nutritionist, psychotherapists and physiotherapist were trained at Gyno care centre, an accredited institution by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO).
Dr Daisy Ruto, the Project Director, Obstetric Fistula at Jhpiego Kenya, said they supported the training of the whole team to ensure the patient gets holistic and rehabilitative care.
“Apart from the surgical team, we brought in the nutritionists because most of these women are malnourished and need to be optimized before surgery since some don’t eat well or drink enough fluids to avoid leaking urine and stool,” noted Ruto while speaking during the launch.
Ruto added that other women have been hated and have stigma to the extent of losing their social skills and will need a counsellor to improve mental health and support their integration back into the society.
The project will mentor a second surgical team from Makindu Sub-County Hospital with support from expert Fistula surgeons.
On his part, the head of the Division of Reproductive Health at the Ministry of Health Dr Edward Serem, lauded the county for the holistic approach in addressing maternal care.
He urged the county to strengthen the primary health care systems in order to end Fistula on women and severe morbidity in other populations.
“Community health units is where the care begins, it is sustainable to prevent fistula from happening if there is a good primary health care with a proper referral system in the county,” said Serem.
By Ronald Rono and Joy Mailu