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UNFPA Launched "End Fistula Campaign" in Bosaso, Puntland

UNFPA Somalia in collaboration with the Ministry of Health - Puntland, launched "End Fistula Campaign" at Juba Hotel, Bosaso, December 19, 2012. The Campaign was attended by higher government officials, community leaders, health workers, WAHA International and community members .

During the opening speech the Honorable Zainab Usas Yasin, Deputy Minister of Health and Women Advocator, lauded UNFPA Somalia for its continuous support to end fistula throughout the country. She said "The Fistula treatment supported by UNFPA and its partner WAHA, will contribute a lot to the fistula affected women and girls". She added, "In order to succeed with this very important project to our society, we need to cooperate hand-in-hand and fight against fistula".

Speaking during the launch, Dr. Ibrahim Obsiye Elmi, UNFPA OIC in Puntland, called women and girls affected by fistula to come and get the free services at Bosaso General Hospital. He said “UNFPA prioritizes the fight against fistula because we want to directly impact women and girls.” He lauded the government for its continued commitment and support to the "End Fistula Campaign".

Dr. Elmi disclosed that during the campaign any fistula victim who will visit the hospital would be provided with a comprehensive service of surgery, counseling, food and accommodation, as well as money for transportation, clothes and hygiene products purchase. He also indicated that local health workers would simultaneously get on-the-job training on fistula surgery.

The WAHA Fistula Surgeon, Dr. Nessy Basimike, explained fistula as a condition mostly caused when women and/or girls experience complications during child birth which makes them to urinate and/or defecate involuntarily. Dr. Elmi added, “It is estimated that around 90% of the deliveries take place at home attended by family members and/or TBAs.” Both doctors stressed the special need for a continued fight against fistula to reduce the number of victims in Somalia. 

Teenage pregnancy and FGM/C (Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting) are also other contriuting factors to fistula. Although statistics are lacking, there are indications of high fistula prevalence in Somalia.

The “End Fistula Campaign” is being implemented by UNFPA Somalia in partnership with WAHA International, an International NGO that works to help women access the healthcare services they need to live their lives fully and in dignity. So far the team has identified 34 fistula cases, aged 17 to 65 years, from Bosaso, Garowe, Qardho, Ethiopia, Alula, and Burtinle. The campaign will be implemented until December 28th, 2012 through surgery, post-operative care and rehabilitation support at the public hospital, Bosasso General Hospital. In addition, UNFPA is providing on-the-job fistula repair trainings to the local Somali health workers and raising community awareness on the availability of free fistula repair services at the public hospital.