MUSANZE - Two specialist doctors from Tanzania and Netherlands have provided free medical services to 15 women suffering from obstetric fistula at Ruhengeri Hospital.
The medics are working along with a team of 33 Rwandan medical staff, including four gynaecologists, to equip them with skills on how to treat the disease.
Speaking to The New Times, Dr. Marietta Mahendeka, a specialist, noted that obstetric fistula, which is mostly caused by prolonged obstructed labour, can be prevented by encouraging patients to deliver from health facilities.
“It’s also important to assess labour and have proper caesarean section by competent medical doctors,’’ Dr. Mahendeka said.
Obstetric fistula or vaginal fistula is a severe medical condition, where a hole or fistula develops between either the rectum and vagina or between the bladder and vagina after severe or failed child delivery without adequate medical care.
“I have been experiencing this problem (Obstetric fistula) for the last 10 years,” said Odette Uwimbazi, one of the patients. My husband deserted me. I was stigmatized in society, because I feared going out to public places, urine would come out any time.’’
Dr. John Karach, the Director of Ruhengeri Hospital, said that out of 65 women examined, 39, were operated in January. The two-week program will end on Thursday.
“Fistula is preventable and can be treated, especially when a woman gets access to emergency obstetric care, and if women continue delivering from the hospital,’’ Dr. Karach said.
Obstetric fistula is described as the most devastating of all childbirth complications affecting women, and prevalent in Africa.