Obstetric Fistula (OBF) is one of the most devastating medical disabilities afflicting women because of complications emanating from lack of surgical intervention for prolonged labour.
Ms Joycelyn Adii, the Acting Brong-Ahafo Regional Director of the Department of Gender made this known when she addressed a sensitisation meeting on OBF at Seketia in the Jaman North District.
Organised jointly by the Department of Gender and the Regional Directorate of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and funded by the United Nations Fund on Population Activities (UNFPA), the meeting was to provide participants with knowledge about the condition and to address the reproductive health needs of girls and women in the Region.
It was to mobilise OBF patients for repairs and to renew the hopes and dreams of those who are suffering from the condition.
It was also aimed at assisting sufferers to undergo treatment to return to full and productive lives.
The participants were 204, comprising 166 females and 38 males, including traditional rulers, opinion leaders and staff of the Seketia Community Health Centre.
Ms Adii said the most common cause of OBF: “Is obstructed and prolonged labour, poverty, lack of awareness, poor-health seeking behaviours, poor health referral systems, poor transportation networks, scarcity of skilled birth attendants and inadequate obstetric care services (infrastructure).
She noted that affected women either leaked urine or faeces or both, leaving them socially isolated in most instances.
She said besides the psychological trauma inflicted, OBF also imposed enormous medical/financial burdens on victims and their families.
Ms Adii said because of the stigma attached to the condition, people suffering from the disease were not very easy to locate and therefore the true prevalence of the disease remained difficult to determine.
She said however, that OBF could be repaired through surgery and could yield a success rate of more than 90 per cent when carried out by a trained provider with proper medical equipment.
Ms Adii said the magnitude of OBF in Ghana was presently unknown and in an assessment of health facilities providing delivery services, it was found out that only six per cent provided treatment and repair of the disease.
Hence, the GHS in collaboration with UNFPA Country Office proposed a study on OBF to create the maximum awareness about it, she added.
Similar meeting was also organised for 220 participants that comprised 25 males and 195 females at Gunasua in the Jaman South District.