Garissa referral hospital receives kits to treat fistula

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Women in need of vaginal fistula treatment in Garissa can now access healthcare at the county’s referral health facility. 

The Garissa Referral Hospital received advanced equipment to treat the condition from a UK-based Muslim women-led organisation.

Health chief officer Hassan Anshur who received the equipment on Monday said the donation was a huge milestone.

The equipment received includes electro-hydraulic multipurpose operation, diathermy machine, suction machine, fistula complete set, surgical drapes, theatre boots, stool boots among others.

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Obstetrics fistula is an abnormal communication created between the vaginal wall and the bladder (vesicovaginal fistula) and the rectum (rectovaginal fistula).

The World Health Organization lists fistula as the single most devastating cause of death during neglected childbirth. It is caused by prolonged or obstructed labour in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Anshur said Garissa county signed a three-year partnership with Global One, a UK-based organisation to treat, fight stigma on fistula and train the health workers on how to care and manage the condition.

He said the condition was prevalent in the region due to early marriages, FGM and unskilled delivery at home.

Many suffer in silence fearing to come out due to the stigma associated with the problem.

In Kenya, about 3,000 fistula cases are estimated to occur every year with an incidence of one in 1,000 women.

The chief officer urged the local community to shun retrogressive cultural practices he said were a threat to human health progress.

Anshur thanked the organisation for the support and assured them that the equipment will be put into proper use for the benefit of the local community.

Global One organisation chair Ibrahim Lithome said they will train two medical doctors, 20 nurses, community health workers and faith leaders in the three-year partnership programmes on treatment and prevention of fistula conditions.

He said the only way to have a greater and lasting impact was by promoting a health systems approach to fistula management.

“To achieve this, it is critical to scale up integrated prevention interventions through increased utilisation and access to quality emergency obstetric care, community education and sensitisation to advocate for women’s health and rights to access care as needed, and reintegration of fistula champions back into the society,”  Lithome said.

Present during the handover were Garissa Referral Hospital medical superintendent Ambrose Misore, director of family health Mohamed Haret, Global One Kenya programme officer Kaltuma Abdirahman and county health and records deputy director Aden Hambe.

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