Maternity Africa is preparing for its forthcoming camp when it expects to treat 30-40 ladies for obstetric fistula and other birth-induced injuries. In fact, we are expecting some patients to arrive at Kivulini Maternity Centre today, having travelled from rural areas across the north and west of Tanzania.
Estimates from EngenderHealth indicate that there are 2,500 to 3,000 new cases of fistula in Tanzania each year. Some further findings from EngenderHealth’s research include:
- Fistula affects girls and women of all ages, in first and later pregnancies;
- Antenatal care services are widely available and used, but are inconsistent and inadequate;
- The lack of birth preparedness, including basic information on childbirth and taking action around ‘delays’, increases risk;
- Lack of access to emergency Caesarean Section poses a great threat to women’s lives;
- The cost and inaccessibility of high quality fistula repair services are barriers to care for many girls and women; and
- Even though most women with fistula had support from others, the emotional and economic impacts of fistula are substantial for the woman herself, and for her family.
To help address these findings, Maternity Africa:
- Provides safe childbirth through its maternity unit to reduce the risk of fistula occurring in the first place;
- Trains its birth attendants and other staff, and provides equipment, supplies and supportive supervision to implement good quality and consistent antenatal care services;
- Educates its antenatal patients with robust information on birth preparedness that can be understood and acted upon, so as to avoid delays in time of emergency;
- Provides 24-hour access to its Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (CEmONC), which includes emergency Caesarean Section operations in its operating theatre;
- Provides high quality fistula repair services, free of charge; and
- Offers counselling to its fistula patients to reduce emotional impacts of fistula.
Maternity Africa looks forward to welcoming the ladies for fistula care and treatment.
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