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Medics to provide free fistula operation in Aweil

Author: Okot Emmanuel | Published: Saturday, November 7, 2020

File photo: Health experts estimate that at least 60,000 women in South Sudan suffer from obstetric fistula, which can cause uncontrollable leakage of urine or feces/News Deeply

Authorities in Northern Bar-el-ghazal are calling on women living with fistula conditions to register at Aweil State Hospital for a free operation.

Obstetric fistula is a condition in which a hole develops between the birth canal and the rectum or bladder.

It is caused by prolonged obstructed labor, leaving a woman without control over urine or feces or both.

The Reproductive Health Officer at Aweil State Hospital says they are currently registering fistula patients to be operated on in the next two weeks.

“Currently, we have registered 34 mothers who are having fistula and 14 who come from a far distance are admitted to Aweil State Hospital,” Lual said onFriday.

“Probably their operation will start next Monday. The surgeon will be arriving in Aweil next week. There is going to be a transport refund for caretakers and fistula survivors. There s free food and soap, free accommodation and the treatment itself is free.”

He appealed to the fistula patients in the Northern Bar-el-gazal and other neighboring states to register for the free services.

The campaign is targeting two hundred mothers.

Mr. Lual said cultural stigma is among other factors discouraging the majority of women affected by obstetric fistula from seeking medical attention in the country.

“The challenge they have is that they are not escorted by their parents or husbands so they are living in isolation,”Mr. Lual noted.

“Social support for them is totally very poor and others are separated by their husbands and most of their husbands are not willing to take them to the hospital.”

This is the fifth fistula campaign in the state.

It is being supported by the medical charity MSF, the International Rescue Committee, the UN Population Fund and the National Ministry of Health.

According to the Ministry of Health, since 2006, over 60,000 obstetric fistula cases have been registered in South Sudan.

The United Nations Population Fund says risk factors causing fistula across the country include early and forced marriages, teenage pregnancy, poor health infrastructure and poverty.

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