Eradication of Fistula in Ghana needs a concerted effort -Dr Gandow

An Obstetric Fistula Consultant, Dr Barnabas Gandow, has called for a joint concerted effort in fighting fistula and maternal mortality in a bid to reduce their negative impact in the country.

Fistula is a problem caused by prolonged obstructed labour. It affects about two million women and girls worldwide and is said to be linked to poverty, malnutrition, poor health service, early child bearing.

He said actors including the family, opinion leaders, chiefs, religious bodies, the media, government groups as well as health practitioners had a major role to play in maternal health which if not handled with care often led to fistula cases.

Dr Gandow who is also a Gynaecologist at the Tamale Teaching Hospital, was speaking at a seminar in Tamale on Tuesday as part of activities to mark International Women’s Day.

The International Women’s Day, which falls on 8th March every year, is a global day designated to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women.

The occasion was organized by the Department of Women under the theme: “Equal Access to Education, Training and Science and Technology, Pathway to Positive and Reproductive Health and Decent Work for Women”.

Supported by the United Nations Population Fund and Care International, the seminar was aimed at sensitizing the public particularly women and the girl-child on reproductive and maternal health as well as the need for them to take their rightful places in society.

Dr Gandow said the disease was curable and if effective and efficient measures were put in place, the disease could be eliminated within a stipulated period.

“Some parents do not care about the upbringing of their children especially the girl-child and this makes them ignorant of certain important issues which they need in life”, he said.

He said people should shun the misconception that fistula was a curse from the gods saying “the disease is purely a medical problem which can be treated for the person to be free. It can be cured through surgical operations which required a short time.”

Mr. Issahaku Patrick Seidu Zakari-Saa, The Northern Regional Director of Department of Women, in an interview with GNA said most people with the disease do not want to report to the health centre because of being stigmatized.

He said some people hid their relatives in the room and isolate them from the community because of their fistula conditions and urged them to desist from such practices.

Mr. Zakari-Saa said his outfit had set up an advocacy team to sensitize people including people in Savalugu where women with such cases have been kept in rooms because of their fistula conditions adding that such patients needed to be taken to the Fistula centre to receive treatment.

Source: GNA

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