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Women encouraged to go for free fistula screening

Migori women have been encouraged to go for free fistula screening services to help rectify the condition and restore their dignity.

Kenyatta National Hospital Fistula Nurse Ms. Beatrice Ogutu said that the screening services has been ongoing at sub county hospitals to identify those that may be having the condition as well as establish the nature of the disease.

Fistula is a devastating condition that manifests itself as an abnormal communication between the urinary bladder and birth canal, which leads to uncontrolled, continuous leakage of urine or faecal matter.

Ogutu who is also working with the Flying Doctors Society said that so far the screening has identified 36 patients with fistula across the county. She noted that they were in the process of establishing if the 36 will undergo a fistula repair or other conservative management treatment modalities like physiotherapy to rectify the condition.

According to the flying doctors Africa report, it is estimated that fistula occurrence stands at 3 to 4 women for every 1,000 deliveries in Kenya. The report also estimated that 3,000 new cases of fistula occur each year in Kenya with only 7.5 percent able to access medical care for the condition with the most affected being women in rural areas.

The medic disclosed that the fistula repair can cost a patient more than Sh300,000 which the majority of Kenyan households cannot afford. She noted that the amount may even be higher if a patient with fistula has other lifestyle conditions like hypertension and diabetes.

She called on the media to inform the public about the free fistula screening and repair camp for the victims to benefit.

Migori County Medical Superintendent Ian Omuom acknowledged that the County Referral hospital has adequately prepared to receive the fistula patients.

“The hospital management has already prepared the operating theater rooms, wards and pharmaceuticals for fistula repairs,” he said.

He affirmed that the majority of fistula patients undergo physiological issues because they are mentally depressed by the condition adding the hospital personnel will counsel the patients and offer guidance before subjecting them to fistula treatment.

Agnes Ochilo, wife to Migori Governor Ochilo Ayacko welcomed the move and encouraged all the women in the county to visit their nearest sub-county hospitals for fistula screening.

She called on Migori community to come on board and give support to the medical camp tasked with fistula rectification to bring back hope, dignity and smile to the affected women.

The free fistula screening and reconstruction began on February 24 and ends on March 3 and is being supported by partners from the Flying Doctor Society, Safaricom Foundation and Amref among other local Non-Governmental Organisations.

By Geoffrey Makokha

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