The United Nations Population Fund UNFPA has stressed access to quality maternal health services as key to ending fistula in Liberia. Fistula cases among women and girls are sometimes derived from giving birth outside medical attention, especially among teens that are sometimes taken to self-taught midwives or country doctors, who provide unskilled attendance during the time of giving birth to their babies.
At the start of a two-day Fistula Project retreat held at the Baptist Seminary in Paynesville on Friday, UNFPA Resident Representative to Liberia Ms. Rati Ndhlovu said, “we can” end fistula by joining collective efforts to stop suffering women by causing severe pain.
“The key to ending fistula is to stop it from happening in the first place. The prevention of fistula is only possible when women have access to quality maternal health care services, including family planning, skilled attendance at birth of their babies and emergency obstetric care,” said Ms. Ndhlovu.
The UNFPA envoy however reaffirmed her institution’s commitment to continue supporting the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in its efforts to strengthen the health system here. Many of the girls and women with fistula are isolated with little news of the outside world, Ms. Ndhlovu observed.
Liberia Fistula Project (LFP) Coordinator Dr. John Mulbah, reported that the project has rehabilitated 24 percent of some 1,000 fistula patients operated on over the years, giving them life skills, including tailoring and pastry, among others.
At the close of the program on Saturday where some survivors were awarded certificates as outstanding, more performing, among others, Dr. Mulbah said though Liberia was one of the latest countries to join the management of fistula in 2007, it is however recognized today as more performing.
He thanked the UNFPA for its financial and moral assistance to the fistula project, as well as the Government of Liberia and recognized the support of the media here in getting the message across to tribal people in the fight against fistula.
Earlier, Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyensuah, assured his ministry’s commitment to working with survivors and urged the participants to encourage their colleagues in various communities that fistula can be repaired.