FISTULA: Woman shunned for 4 years smiles at last

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Woman living with fistula for four years finally undergoes surgery and advises other women with the condition to come out and seek medical care. For four years she has been shunned from social gatherings due to obstetric fistula, one of the most dehumanizing health conditions affecting women through childbirth. Her husband left her and people also made fun of her children because of her condition. Maame Akua as we call her for the purposes of this story due to the stigma, has finally undergone surgery to change her situation. [caption id="attachment_124813" align="aligncenter" width="1008"] Journalist Esi Benewaa Otoo [R] interviewing Maame Akua on World Fistula Day[/caption]It was all joy when Maame Akua got pregnant with her fifth child. Little did she know that the pregnancy would end her in a condition that would curtail her freedom. It all started when she was in labor and there was no one to take her to the hospital. She was later sent to the hospital but had a prolonged labor. A week after delivery she noticed an unusual flow of urine but due to lack of finance she couldn’t access medical care. Sounding emotional, she tells me people make fun of her children due to her condition and to make matters worse her husband also left her. The 47 year old mother through the aid of an NGO is now relieved and is encouraging women in that  condition to seek medical attention She went through the surgery at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital where she is currently on admission. The Korle Bu Teaching Hospital repairs 4 cases monthly and 30 to 50 cases each year. Majority of cases are referred from mostly rural communities. Cost of the surgery is 3,000 cedis. Ghana currently has two specialized fistula centres. Obstetric fistula is a medical condition that causes a hole to develop between either the rectum or the vagina of a pregnant woman. Dr. Gabriel Ganyaglo, a fistula surgeon, recommended good antenatal care, hospital-based delivery attended to by a health expert. A 2015 study estimates that 1,300 women in Ghana annually develop fistula with 50 to 100 thousand new cases recorded globally But can these figures reduce? More awareness on causes, preventive measures and treatment could also help; intensifying efforts, with a human rights-based approach, to end obstetric fistula as an integral component of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and leaving no one behind. This calls for improving maternal health, strengthening health systems, reducing health inequities and increasing the levels and predictability of funding. Ghana joins the rest of the world fighting to end fistula, end the pain, shame and suffering of women during child birth By Esi Benewaa Otoo | 3news.com]]>

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