Over 30 women living with Female Genital Fistula a condition where women leak urine and stool are expected to receive free surgeries and medical advice during a week-long camp at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).
The Fistula camp which will be held until 28th May is part of a partnership between Safaricom Foundation, UNFPA, Flying Doctors Society of Africa, AMREF Health Africa, and Beyond Zero Initiative. It comes as the world marks International Day to End Obstetric Fistula (IDEOF) on 23rd May. This year’s theme being “WOMEN RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS, END FISTULA NOW!”
Safaricom Foundation in partnership with Flying Doctors Society of Africa, and other partners have been working together to offer free treatment to women with fistula and create awareness about the importance of quality maternal health services.
“This initiative seeks to raise awareness and amplify the plight of women with obstetric fistula, a condition that continues to affect women in sub-Saharan Africa & Asia. As we work towards, ending fistula by 2030, we must intensify partnerships to prevent cases from happening while treating those living with fistula, some of whom have had to wait many years to access treatment”, said Joe Ogutu, Safaricom Foundation Chairman.
Over 1,400 women in 7 counties have benefited from previous camps that have been held in Nairobi, Nyeri, Makueni, Kitui, Kisii, Kilifi and Embu.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has strained access to health care services, especially in maternal and reproductive health services. We are grateful to be able to offer this service after a long halt. We, therefore, urge all women who have been suffering in silence during this period to come forward and seek treatment” Ms. Tanya Nduati, CEO of Flying Doctors’ Society of Africa
The World Health Organization has termed fistula as the single most dramatic aftermath of neglected childbirth estimating that more than 2 million women live with fistula worldwide. It is estimated that there are 3,000 new fistula cases in Kenya each year, and only 7.5 percent of these are able to access medical care. This means that every year, more than 2,700 women with new fistula cases do not receive the necessary medical attention.
“Obstetric fistula is a sensitive indicator of the quality of sexual and reproductive health services and a severe assault on the quality of life of those unfortunate to live with a fistula. UNFPA remains committed to supporting the Government of Kenya in all efforts to eliminate obstetric fistula and other maternal morbidities” Dr. Ademola Olajide, UNFPA Representative, Kenya
The partnerships complement the Government initiatives through the Ministry of Health in improving maternal health under the Sustainable Development Goal 3 by 2030. The government partners with implementing organizations in fistula repairs training and mobilization at the County and National level. The Kenyan Constitution under Article 43 (1) of the Bill of Rights guarantees access to health care promoting health care issues including reproductive health care that fistula cases fall on.
Linda Mama Boresha Jamii Initiative also provides a package of basic health services accessed by all in the targeted population on the basis of need and not ability to pay, positioning Kenya on the pathway to Universal Health Coverage (UHC)
The National Strategic Framework on Female Genital Fistula in Kenya and Female Genital Fistula Training Manual for Health Workers provides a platform to achieve the Vision of “A Fistula free Kenyan Nation”