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Tamale Fistula Centre faces problems

2010-02-02 21:49:41
This article has been read 1296 times.

The Tamale Fistula Centre that was inaugurated for the treatment of obstetric fistula, in July last year, faces problems that are hampering commencement of operations at the centre.

The centre was established by the Ghana Health Service, with funding from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

It was inaugurated by the immediate past Minister of Health, Dr George Adjah Sipa- Yankey, to operate upon women who develop obstetric fistula.

However, it is more than six months since the centre was inaugurated and no single operation has been performed at the centre.

Investigations conducted by the Daily Graphic revealed that there were some few difficulties which are hampering the commencement of operations at the centre.

The Northern Regional Director of Public Health, Dr Jacob Yakubu Mahama, who confirmed this, said notable among these difficulties was the unavailability of a theatre lamp, which was needed to aid in the operation process.

He said some progress had been made in the procurement of the lamp and that soon the centre would begin operations.

Dr Mahama also mentioned that the building housing the centre had some defaults with regard to its sewerage system and these needed to be fixed before the centre began operations, stressing that "work on the sewerage system is also ongoing and we are hoping it would be concluded soon".

Another difficulty, Dr Mahama noted, was how to get the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to cover the patients, since the cost of operation would deny many of the patients, who were predominantly rural women, the opportunity to get treatment.

The immediate past health minister, during his tenure, pledged to ensure that the NHIS was extended to fistula patients, but that arrangement could not materialise before he resigned from office.

According to the Public Health Director, when all these issues were resolved, the centre would begin operations and that it would also be used for other emergencies.

According to health experts, obstetric fistula is a severe medical condition in which a fistula (hole) developed either between the rectum and vagina (recto-vaginal fistula) or between the bladder and vagina (vesico-vaginal fistula) after complications -resulting- from childbirth.

This occurs when adequate medical care is not available for the woman during labour or due to other factors such as laceration, rape and other sexual trauma.

Women who develop any of these conditions either pass urine or stool or both through the vagina, thereby putting them in a bad condition, which consequently affects their social, psychological and physical life.

Whiles some women lose their marriages due to this condition, others are stigmatised in society and, as a result, they suffer in silence.

Currently, fistula patients in Ghana, most of whom are in the three northern regions, have to compete for the space and time of health workers with other patients in three major hospitals in the country.

They are the Tamale, Komfo Anokye and Korle-Bu teaching hospitals.


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