Ministry of Health and Child Care in partnership with the Artemedis and Fistula Foundation on Monday 23 May commemorated the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula at Chidamoyo Christian Hospital in Karoi under this year’s theme, ’Obstetric Fistula Surgeries-Changing lives of women and restoring their dignity”.
Ministry of Health and Child Care, Deputy Director Reproductive Health Dr. Lucia Gondongwe speaking at the Commemoration where she was the Guest of Honor highlighted that most Fistulas occur due to poverty, early marriage and domestic violence, among other negative actions towards women.
“The interlinkages between poverty, lack of or inadequate or inaccessible health care services, early childbearing, child marriages, violence against young women and girls and gender discrimination are the root causes of obstetric fistula and poverty remains the main social risk”, Dr. Gondongwe said.
Dr Gongongwe said that limited health standards can cause high levels of risk of obstetric fistula and other maternal morbidities as well as maternal mortality.
“Limited access to the highest attainable standard of health, including sexual and reproductive health, specifically timely access to high-quality emergency obstetric care, cause high levels of risk of obstetric fistula and other maternal morbidities as well as maternal mortality”, Deputy Director Reproductive Health said.
Dr. Gondongwe acknowledged that the commemoration created an opportunity to raise awareness of obstetric fistula.
“This commemoration today creates an opportunity to raise awareness of obstetric fistula. Let us work together to end obstetric fistula”, said Dr.Gondongwe.
Artemedis formerly known as Women and Health Alliance International, has been providing technical and financial support to the Ministry of Health and Child Care for Fistula repairs since 2014 and many women have benefited from these surgeries said Fistula Surgeon Dr. Jean De Dieu Yunga Foma.
“Artemedis and Fistula Foundation have funded the Obstetric Fistula Repair Camps tirelessly since 2014 and up to date more than 800 women have benefited from the free surgeries”, said Dr.Yunga Foma.
In Zimbabwe, there are conceited efforts to prevent obstetric fistula through availability of family planning services, capacitation of health workers in provision of emergency obstetric care, high levels of health facility-based deliveries and skilled birth attendance rates.