Public Health authorities and development partners have resolved to eradicate Obstetric Fistula in Cameroon in the next 8 years.
A national campaign to end the shameful disease was launched in Yaounde on November 20, 2020. Government Ministers, health experts, Non -Governmental Organisations and private individuals massively attended the event.
The campaign was jointly launched by the Ministries of Public Health, Social Affairs, Women’s Empowerment and the Family and the United Nations Population Fund.
Siti Batoul Oussein, Resident Representative for UNFPA Cameroon, said her organ will continue to intensify efforts to end Obstetric Fistula by 2028.
Before the launching ceremony, health experts championed the national campaign on social media calling for joint efforts to end the disease. The trending hashtags for the event were ; #LetsmakeherSmileagain
What is Obstetric Fistula ?
Obstetric Fistula is an abnormal connection between the rectum and the vagina, ureter or bladder. The medical condition is usually characterized by the appearance of a hole in the birth canal. The hole, known as the Fistula, becomes the passage for urine and stool. It could have a foul odor depending on its size. Leakages from the Fistula can not be controlled by the patient.
The health condition results from child birth injury, obstructed or protracted labor not treated early , delayed medical care , early pregnancy, still birth or C-Section.
Obstetric Fistula is usually referred to as “the shameful disease” because it leaves sufferers with a stigma that can last a lifetime, if they are not treated. Most of these women especially in African settings are abandoned to themselves, and isolated by the community.
Some of them who were treated through surgery said they had resolved to live the rest of their lives in seclusion, because they did not know Obstetric Fistula could be treated.
Obstetric Fistula in Cameroon
Public Health officials say Obstetric Fistula affects between 20,000 – 23 000 women in Cameroon yearly . A total of 500 women were treated for Obstetric Fistula in Cameroon in 2019.
To completely eradicate the heath condition in Cameroon, UNFPA’s Representative said 112 personnel will be trained to carry out repair surgeries . They will be constituted into 6 teams of experts who will be dispatched to various regions.
The experts will also have to Identify sufferers, offer treatment, follow up and ensure they are integrated into the society. After integration, the sufferers will be expected to join the campaign to end the disease.
During the ceremony to launch the national campaign, funds were collected to cover the cost of the surgery for women suffering from Obstetric Fistula in Cameroon.
Kathy Neba Sina