President Joyce Banda Thursday called upon people in the country to stop discriminating against women with fistula.
“I am aware that one of the most pressing challenges women who have fistula problem face is social integration and acceptance by the society.
“It is sad to see such women often alienated from their families and community to the extent that they find it difficult to return to their homes even after being assisted.
“I wish to appeal for an end to stigma and discrimination against women with fistula,” said Pres Banda in Lilongwe when she opened a fistula care centre at Bwaila District Hospital run by The Freedom from Fistula Foundation (FFFF).
Fistula is a condition whereby a woman develops an abnormal opening between a woman’s bladder and birth canal and/or rectum through which urine and/or faeces continually leak due to child bearing.
Pres Banda said the fact that obstetric fistula still occurred in Malawi meant that the country had not yet fully achieved its vision for safe motherhood though it had come a long way in reducing maternal and neonatal deaths.
The opening of the facility, said Banda, gave the country hope about attaining safe motherhood. She said the facility would serve the most vulnerable and marginalized women in society that had the condition.
Banda asked women who had had their fistula repaired to deliver at a health centre if they got pregnant again for them to receive the required attention to prevent the condition from recurring.
In her remarks, Director for FFFF, Dr Ann Gloag, said there were more than 2 million women with fistula in Africa. More than 2,000 new cases are reported in Malawi every year.
She disclosed that the foundation had since managed to repair 260 women from the condition since the centre started operating in 2008 and readmitted to secondary school two students who had a similar problem after they became pregnant while at school.
Even though the condition is repairable, it is reported that 70 per cent of the women who have the condition can no longer have children after repair.
FFFF is a Scottish charity whose vision is to have all women in Africa to have access to health care during pregnancy and child birth and help them eradicate obstetric fistula.
The Foundation has centres in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Kenya and Malawi.
Apart from repairing women with the condition, FFFF will also raise awareness on the condition as well as educate health care providers at all levels on the care of women with obstetric fistula among others.
©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.