Kiambu politician Gladys Chania has called for proactive measures in taming fistula which, more often than not, subjects a woman to shame and ridicule.
Fistula is an abnormal connection between organs with rectovaginal fistula, anal fistula and obstetric fistula being the most common. The victims are subjected to faecal incontinence –the inability to control bowel movements thereby, making one pass stool unexpectedly from the rectum.
In an exclusive interview with Hivisasa on Wednesday, Chania maintained that cases of obstetric fistula have increased, Kiambu being the third highest in fistula cases.
She said that the approach to taming the ailment should be multi-dimensional, involving both the patient and the doctor.
“Obstetric fistula is caused by among other things, prolonged labour and this is where, as a woman, you should do your part to fight this ailment. It is advisable for you to seek medical attention immediately labour pains kicks in,” said Chania, a counselling psychologist by profession.
Chania added that for doctors, “They should be responsible and not keep the patient in pain because there are instances where fistula patients developed the condition because the doctor did not attend to them in time.”
She called on the Government to increase manpower in hospitals to deal with such cases citing that in the past, most of those who have undergone successful surgery have had to rely on the expertise of foreign doctors who operate on them.
According to data by the Ministry of Health, there are just 10 fistula repair surgeons in Kenya, with the standard cost of treatment capped at Sh30, 000.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFP) says that 300, 000 Kenyan women live with fistula, 3,000 cases developing every year.