United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has joined the rest of the world in
commemorating international day to end obstetric fistula at a ceremony held at
the Bundung Maternal and child Health hospital.
According to officials, fistula is childbirth injuries caused by prolong and obstructed labour without timely intervention, typically a caesarean section.
During unassisted prolonged labour, sustained pressure of the baby’s head on the mother’s pelvic bone is said to damage her soft tissues, creating a hole or fistula between the vagina and the bladder and the rectum. The result is a constant leaking of urine or feaces through the vagina.
Alhagie Kolley, program analyst on sexual and reproductive health at UNFPA said they are working with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to organise a fistula camp where people affected could register for operation.
Ivan Coker, Bundung hospital administrator said in The Gambia, people who have fistula usually sits quiet on it, holding the belief that it is caused by Allah or a cause from evil spirit.
The treatment, she said, is available and they are advocating for information to be filtered down to people who matters most so that women who are affected by the problem can be identified and brought to Bundung Maternal and Child health hospital where they can be registered for treatment.
Amie Njie-Coker, deputy Matron Head of Maternity acknowledged that one of the causes of fistula is prolong labour and labour without helping the woman to deliver safely, making reference to cases of women who delivered at home.
She appealed to women to choose delivering at a health facility, nothing that there are midwives on the ground who would help in situations where there is prolong labour.