At least 30 women living with fistula to benefit from free surgery

Safaricom partners with health facilities to offer free surgery for women living with fistula

Over 30 women living with Female Genital Fistula are slated to receive free surgeries and medical advice from May 23 until May 28, 2021.

This will be facilitated by Safaricom Foundation which has partnered with Flying Doctors Society of Africa, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), AMREF Health Africa and Beyond Zero Initiative.

Safaricom Foundation Chairman, Mr. Joe Ogutu said, “This initiative seeks to raise awareness and amplify the plight of women with obstetric fistula, a condition that continues to affect women in sub-Saharan Africa & Asia. As we work towards ending fistula by 2030, we must intensify partnerships to prevent cases from happening while treating those living with fistula, some of whom have had to wait many years to access treatment”, said Joe Ogutu, Safaricom Foundation Chairman.

The week-long campaign will be held at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) as the world marks International Day to End Obstetric Fistula (IDEOF).

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Since the advent of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in March last year, access to health care has been a challenge with many staying away from health Facilities for fear of contracting the virus.

The Chief Executive Officer of Flying Doctor’s Society of Africa, Ms. Tanya Nduati has, however, challenged women living fistula to embrace the campaign and seek treatment.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has strained access to health care services, especially in maternal and reproductive health services. We are grateful to be able to offer this service after a long halt. We, therefore, urge all women who have been suffering in silence during this period to come forward and seek treatment,” said Ms. Nduati.

Over 1,400 women in Kenya have benefited from previous camps which were held in the counties of Nairobi, Nyeri, Makueni, Kitui, Kisii, Kilifi and Embu.

It is estimated that there are 3,000 new fistula cases in Kenya each year, and only 7.5 percent of these are able to access medical care.

This means that every year, more than 2,700 women with new fistula cases do not receive the necessary medical attention.

“Obstetric fistula is a sensitive indicator of the quality of sexual and reproductive health services and a severe assault on quality of life of those unfortunate to live with a fistula.  UNFPA remains committed to supporting the Government of Kenya in all efforts to eliminate obstetric fistula and other maternal morbidities,” said Dr. Ademola Olajide, UNFPA Representative, Kenya.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has termed fistula as the single most dramatic aftermath of neglected childbirth estimating that more than two million women live with fistula worldwide.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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