Obstetric fistula surgery
EngenderHealth estimates that there are up to 3,000 new cases of obstetric fistula in Tanzania each year. Maternity Africa is dedicated to helping eradicate the occurrence of obstetric fistula in Tanzania. The condition is caused when a baby becomes stuck in the birth canal (obstructed labour). When the mother remains in labour for several days, pressure on the tissue between the rectum and the birth canal, or bladder and birth canal, can die, creating a small hole – usually resulting in the death of the baby.
When the mother recovers from the birth, she leaks urine or faeces (or both) continuously. Without surgery, this is a devastating and permanent medical condition. The mother is often abandoned by her husband and the community.
There IS hope. In most cases, obstetric fistula can be repaired by a skilled surgeon. Maternity Africa’s founder and visiting surgeon, Dr Andrew Browning, conducts many of the more complex operations and trains Tanzanian doctors so they can operate and continue care. In many cases, the mother is cured completely or significantly and can return once again to a more normal way of life – and be accepted by her family, friends and neighbours.
Maternity Africa’s family planning programme provides a pillar of safe motherhood. Evidence suggests that if all women were offered access to effective family planning services then maternal mortality could be reduced by up to 30%. This could lead to a corresponding reduction in maternal injury – a most common and devastating being obstetric fistula.
Maternity Africa offers family planning consultations and a choice of treatment for all of its maternity and fistula patients, and to up to 1,200 external clients each year.
The World Health Organization recently recommended that each pregnant woman should have four scheduled antenatal visits prior to labour and delivery. This helps ensure that the well–being of the mother and her baby are monitored and that any problems can be identified and managed appropriately.
Maternity Africa provides antenatal care for all its maternity patients. Patients who are identified as being at higher risk have access to health promotion services. This includes family planning education presented through film, and one-to-one consultations with Maternity Africa’s skilled and experienced health professionals.
Labour and delivery
At Kivulini Maternity Centre, Maternity Africa offers routine midwifery care and 24-hour Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn (CEmONC) services to vulnerable and marginalised women and girls of childbearing age. Maternity Africa is progressing steadily towards its annual target of 2,500 deliveries each year. We work with local community leaders and health facilities to build relationships and become a centre for patient referral.
After the baby is born, Maternity Africa provides postpartum care, including vaccinations against tuberculosis and polio.
Maternity Africa’s midwives and outreach teams travel to the surrounding communities and market places to inform and invite people to access maternal healthcare services.
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