A medical doctor at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr. George Ganyaglo has called on Ghanaians to help raise awareness on obstetric fistula to eliminate the disease in Ghana.
He told Kwabena Agyapong on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm that it was important for every single Ghanaian to join the awareness train in order to uproot the situation in the country.
He also spoke on the need to initiate moves to reduce teenage pregnancy and also the need for family planning.
He said, the move could be possible through increased public awareness of the causes of obstetric fistula.
He advised women and girls who were affected by the disease to seek medical treatment rather than socially excluding themselves from society.
According to him, obstetric fistula was preventable, hence the need for people to be aware.
He said poor and marginalised women of our rural and urban slum communities, who have limited or no access to modern maternal health services are the most vulnerable.
Some of the measures known to help in the fight against the condition is the prevention of the Vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) through increased access to timely emergency surgery and strengthening the system for identification and referrals to specialist health institutions for treatment.
The rest are increasing the capacity of the health system to perform surgical and repair of the VVFs and the rehabilitation and re-integration of the cured VVF patients into mainstream society.
Obstetric fistula is a disease in which a hole develops between the bladder (rectum) and the birth canal, which is the vagina, following prolonged, obstructed labour. This communicating channel created, allows continuous leakage of urine or faeces or both through the vagina.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 2 million women in the low- resourced setting have VVF and 100,000 cases of new VVFs develop yearly. The Ghana Health Service also estimates an annual incidence of 1,350 new cases of VVF with 95 percent of expectant mothers having stillbirths.
The WHO in 2013 set aside May 23, each year to commemorate the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula.