On the 19th of September 2013, visiting members of the Rotary Club of Essendon, Australia toured the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), where the Flying Doctors Society of Africa (FDSA) had a team of doctors carrying out Fistula repairs on women from across the country. The team presented a cheque of KShs. 11 million to the Flying Doctors Society for use in carrying out fistula repairs, as well as training medical personnel and building capacity on the ground to deal with future cases of fistula. Dr. Eunice Kiereini – Chairman, Flying Doctors’ Society of Africa, Dr. Simeon Monda – Chief Executive Officer, KNH, Dr. J. O. Ongech – Assistant Director, Reproductive Health, KNH and representatives of the Rotary Club of Essendon were in attendance.
FDSAs key intervention in the area of Medical Outreach is in conducting of surgical repairs for a condition known as Obstetric or Vesico Vaginal Fistula. This intervention is done in the form of VVF Surgical Medical Camps held periodically throughout the year in various hospitals.
Kenyatta National Hospital, being the largest VVF repair centre in the country receives over 400 VVF related cases each year, close to half of the 1,000 VVF cases nationally. The funding is earmarked for a project, run by FDSA aimed at reclaiming women’s dignity as well as protecting families and marriages from disintegration – a key consequence of VVF. A significant part of the project includes training of local specialist gynecologists, surgeons and registrars in fistula surgery as well as building capacity on the ground to handle Fistula.
Obstetric (or Vesico Vaginal) fistula is a devastating condition affecting poor rural women and girls. It manifests as an abnormal communication between the urinary bladder and vagina, which leads to uncontrolled, continuous leakage of urine and/or fecal matter. The condition most often occurs as a complication of obstructed labor but can also be caused by radiation, surgical trauma or accidents.
Inadvertently, majority of VVF incidences occur due to lack of access to qualified health care personnel during the labor period especially in cases of obstructed birth process. The situation is usually worse off for new mothers, especially teenage mothers because their pelvis is still too small for the baby to pass through. Obstructed labor can therefore lead to injuries to the mother, child or both. This condition has perverse effects on the emotional well-being of the sufferer and completely destroys the individual’s social capacity. Obstetric fistulas affect women of all ages and account for 8% of maternal deaths worldwide.
The Flying Doctors’ Society of Africa (FDSA or The Society) was established in 1971, to raise funds for the spread of Medical Outreach in Africa through a membership scheme which guarantees free evacuation services to paid-up members. The Society also raises funds through fundraising activities, selling branded merchandise as well as donations. The Society is a charitable organization which puts to good use all unutilised subscriptions not spent on evacuations by funding Charity Evacuations and Outreach Programmes that ensure Medical facilities are accessible across the region. Since its inception, the Society has contributed the equivalent of 1 billion shillings to the spread of Medical Outreach in Africa.
FDSA works hard to ensure people all over East Africa have access to life saving medical attention. Part of the proceeds from membership subscriptions are used to help people like Rose. Become a member or donate today and help by being part of the solution.