NAIROBI Kenya, Jun 29 – First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has called upon individuals and corporate institutions to support the treatment of women affected by fistula.
She observed that such assistance will enable Kenyatta National Hospital, African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) and other partners extend free services to women affected by the condition in the rural areas.
Speaking at Kenyatta National Hospital on Friday when she launched the 8th National Free Fistula annual medical camp and awareness walk, the First Lady cited Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) as the most common type of fistula in the country.
Emphasizing that the fistula condition remained one of the gravest dehumanizing conditions affecting the women, the First Lady stressed on the need to enhance the capacities of health systems to prevent, repair and support women with obstetric fistula.
“We recognize that women and families affected by this condition are deprived of their self esteem; it adversely affects their social development leading to withdrawal and depression due to discrimination and stigmatization by other members of society,” she said.
She urged Kenyans to join hands and help the affected women restore their dignity, lift their spirits and bring joy back in their lives through treatment.
“We become better people when we look out for one another and we are blessed when we embrace the notion of being our brother’s and sister’s keeper,” she said.
The First Lady observed that in some parts of Africa, three to four women in every 1,000 births develop fistulas while as many as 2 million women worldwide are living with unrepaired obstetric fistulas.
She expressed hope fistula that the awareness campaign would enlighten members of society on the disease whose treatment is available at no cost.
She commended KNH for organizing the camp in collaboration with the AMREF and the Freedom from Fistula Foundation, saying the initiative will go a long way in assisting women affected by the condition.
“It is indeed a pleasure to see that the fight against VVF is gaining momentum with the increased partnership from individuals, Private institutions and Non- Governmental Organizations such as the AMREF, Freedom from Fistula and the media fraternity,” the First Lady said.
Kenyatta later flagged off the fistula awareness walk, acknowledged this year’s camp theme “Capacity building for VVF care in Kenya” which seeks to address the many challenges affecting women with the condition.
On their part, AMREF Director General Teguest Guerma and the Freedom from Fistula Foundation Director Lucy Mwangi thanked the Government for waiving maternity fees for pregnant women.
They said free maternal healthcare would enable more women to access healthcare services and therefore reduce the prevalence of fistula related diseases.