#IDEOF: Here is all you need to know about Obstetric Fistula, UNFPA Ghana informs

Obstetric fistula (OF) is a medical condition in which a hole develops in the birth canal as a result of childbirth. it is caused by prolonged, obstructed labor without access to timely, high-quality medical treatment.

Obstetric fistula

UNFPA Ghana marked this year's (2022) International Day to End Obstetric Fistula with an informative symposium to educate the youth on what Obstetric Fistula is about.

The conference was held today, May 23rd, 2022, at the Orange Loft with the presence of some resourced persons which included Nana Dr. Ama Amissah III, the Queen-mother of Mankesim amongst others.

Also present at the symposium were Dr. Agnes Kayitankore, the Deputy Country Representative of UNFPA Ghana, and Ruth Sawyer, a team member of the Reproductive Health Unit of UNFPA Ghana.

This symposium came as no surprise as obstetric fistula has been one of the major health concerns of the UNFPA. The agency has kept true over the years to this course by channeling great effort into putting an end to the obstetric fistula as a critical step toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

What Obstertric Fistula is

Speaking at the event, Dr. Agnes Kayitankore, explained Obstetric Fistula is a devastating childbirth injury caused by prolonged, obstructed labor, which affects millions of people across the globe.

This complication occurs most often among girls and women (who are powerless in their societies) living in poverty and in regions of the world where there are inadequate medical services. OF touches on issues related to reproductive health and rights, gender inequality, poverty, education, empowerment, and adolescent sexual and reproductive health.

State of Obstetric Fistula in Ghana

In Ghana, it is estimated that between 711 and 1,352 new cases of obstetric fistula occur each year, amounting to an incidence rate of between 1.6 and 1.8 per 1,000 deliveries. Globally, 500,000 women and girls still live with fistula, statistics.

Effects of Obstetric Fistula

Obstetric Fistula leaves women with incontinence problems and often leads to chronic medical problems including frequent infections, kidney disease, painful sores, and even infertility.

It also can brew depression, social isolation, and deepening poverty.

The consequences of Obstetric Fistula go beyond the individual woman and affect spouses, relatives, and the community at large, as asserted by Omanhemaa of the Mankesim Kingdom in sharing her experience working with women living with Fistula.

Prevention of Obstetric Fistula

Obstetric fistula is preventable; as echoed by Ruth Sawyer, one of the panelists of the conference and a team member of the Reproductive Health Unit of UNFPA Ghana. She stated it can largely be avoided by delaying the age of first pregnancy, the cessation of harmful traditional practices, and timely access to obstetric care.

Preventing and managing obstetric fistula contribute to the Sustainable Development Goal 3 of improving maternal health.

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