By Shadrack Nyakoe
50 women living with fistula-related complications in Tharaka Nithi County will receive free surgeries and medical advice at a week-long free Fistula Camp at Chuka County Referral Hospital. This camp is in celebration of International Day to End Obstetric Fistula (IDEOF). This year’s theme is “End Fistula Now: Invest in Quality Healthcare, Empower Communities!”
The exercise, which is being carried out in partnership with The Ministry of Health, Tharaka Nithi County, Beyond Zero, M-PESA Foundation, UNFPA, AMREF, and Flying Doctors Society of Africa, aims to create awareness about fistula and the importance of investing in quality maternal health services.
Extensive screening of patients began on 16th May and is ongoing at Chuka county Referral Hospital to identify women who need the surgery. Comprehensive medical Check-ups and treatment will also be available through Beyond Zero medical safari on the 25th and 26th of May.
“We are glad to have impacted many lives of women in Kenya. We believe that through partnerships, we can transform lives. I appeal to women in Tharaka Nithi and beyond to come in large numbers to be screened and also receive free surgeries from the various medical teams,” said Karen Basiye, Director, Sustainable Business and Social Impact, Safaricom.
The partnership aims to sensitize the public through education, information, and advocacy.
“FDSA stands in the gap to strengthen Government’s intervention to eradicate fistula by proving access to fistula treatment through organized fistula camps. These camps offer hope, create awareness and reduce stigma for women living with fistula. All partners are deliberate in investing resources to achieve a fistula-free Kenya by 2030,” said Ms. Tanya Nduati, CEO of Flying Doctors’ Society of Africa.
The fistula camps kicked off on Friday and will run until Friday 27th May 2022.
“Amref Health Africa is committed to working with the government and partners in strengthening health systems to better serve mothers and newborns. The most cost-effective way to reduce complications such as fistula is through access to quality care and well-trained health professionals with midwifery skills during childbirth,” said Dr. Meshack Ndirangu, Country Director, Amref Health Africa in Kenya.
The World Health Organisation has termed fistula as the single most dramatic aftermath of neglected childbirth and estimates that more than 2 million women live with fistula worldwide. It is estimated that 3,000 new fistula cases are recorded in Kenya each year, and only 7.5 percent of the women can access medical care.
This means that every year, more than 2,700 women with new fistula cases do not receive the necessary medical care.
M-PESA Foundation has invested over KES 15 million to support 5 Fistula camps in Bungoma, Nyeri, Kilifi, Kajiado, and Tharaka Nithi counties.