The Liberia Fistula program has validated a four-year postgraduate study curriculum to train more Liberian doctors in the areas of Prevention, Treatment, Rehabilitation and Integration.
According to medical dictionary, Fistula is a permanentabnormalpassagewaybetweentwoorgans in thebody or between an organandtheexterior of the body. It is found mainly in women and may arise in anypart of thebody,butmostcommon in thedigestivetract as well as betweenbloodvesselsand in theurinary,reproductive,andlymphaticsystems.Fistulascanoccur at anyage or can be present at birth(congenital).
The Fistula project in Liberia is being funded by the United Nations Population Fund or UNFPA in collaboration with other international partners. The Head of the Fistula project in the country, Dr. John K. Mulbah, who deputized for Dr.Philderald E. Pratt of UNFPA Tuesday, 29 September at a validation workshop in Jacob Town, Paynesville gave an overview of the postgraduate studies.
Briefing partners, stakeholders and technical staff, he said in 2006 UNFPA sponsored surveys in four counties, including Montserrado, Bong, Nimba and Lofa to know the impact of Fistula in Liberia, disclosing that outcome of the exercise showed that 97 percent of the cases was mainly due to delivery complications.
“Fistula surgery is not easy; some of the cases are even irreparable!” Dr.Mulbah, who has been trained by UNFPA to manage the Liberia Fistula project, said the program is important because it caters to women, who are abandoned and ostracized due to their health conditions.
He disclosed that during surgical operations on 20 women recently, it was discovered that only two of the cases involved old patients, while the others are new patients, which indicates that Fistula is on the rise in post-Ebola Liberia.
“The aim is to have Fistula management integrated in the Reproductive Health at all levels”, he said, and added that over 1,500 patients have been cured from Fistula across the country with 25 percent of this number rehabilitated thru skill training and are back in the community.
Earlier, the director of family health at the Ministry of Health, Dr.CuallauJabbeh-Howe said the vision to have Fistula eradicated can be achieved with the training of more doctors through the postgraduate studies;writes Jonathan Browne