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As they recover from bondage

May 29, 2019

By Regina Pratt

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Some of the survivors dancing during  their Gladi gladi day celebrations

Patients who  survived Fustila after undergoing successful surgery at the Aberdeen Women’s Centre, were on Thursday, May 23, 2019, seen in a jubilant mood, singing and dancing on the International Day to end Fustila.

Obstetric Fistula, according to medical experts, is caused by one of the most serious injuries during childbearing- a tear in the birth canal caused by prolonged and obstructed labour in the absence of timely and adequate medical care.

In a short address to commemorate the day, UNFPA Country representative, Dr. Kin Dickson, said from 2011 to date, they have supported 1,327 surgical cases of Fistula at the Aberdeen Women’s Centre, adding that women were not dying from pregnancy but suffering from Fistula cases.

The UNFPA country representative said since the ICPD was held in Cairo, Egypt in 1994, and declared that there should be Universal access to sexual and reproductive health rights, access to safe delivery services   and family planning; they were still down the line as women still suffer from Fistula.

She informed the gathering that there were no fistula cases in the developed world, but prevalent in Africa as women were being forgotten while girls were forced into early marriage, which is one of the core causes of Fistula.

“We should not have young girls suffering from Fistula. There is need to provide more support for Aberdeen Women’s Centre, with training for more staff,” she said.

Dr. Nickson further said that the progress and success was over 90% as “we are proud of Aberdeen Women’s Centre for a job well done by reintegrating the victims back into society.”

Assistant Supervisor for Fistula Unit at the Aberdeen Women’s Centre, Feremusu Kamara said the day was declared by UNFPA as a way to restore the dignity of patients.

She said in 2018, about 200 surgeries were performed while 78 have been performed from January 2019 to date, adding that five of the survivors have volunteered to serve as ambassadors to go into communities in search of Fistula patients.

Lead surgeon from Malawi, Dr. Ennet Chipungdus, said she has passion for the profession, especially saving someone who has been going through hell.

 “We have a number of challenges even before going to the theatre.The difficult challenge is getting them to come to the clinic. They should not be scared as it is free. Once they get here they will be healed,” she said.

Founder of the Fistula project at the Aberdeen Women’s Centre, Madam Gloag, who is a Scottish billionaire, has transformed the lives of hundreds of women and children since the centre was established to cure Fistula victims and also provide Ante-natal care.

With the establishment of the centre, about 22,000 children have received outpatient clinical services, with nearly 300 women healed and free from being regarded as outcast in their communities.

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