-Controlling maternal complications and ‘fistula’
KARACHI– Eminent gynecologists and social activists stressed upon the need of training of midwives, all over Pakistan, in order to prevent women from developing fistula.
Addressing a joint press conference on the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula at PMA House, health experts urged for change within the socio-cultural behaviors of Pakistan, to reduce maternal mortality rates, as well as prevent women from complications such as development of a fistula.
Program Officer, Pakistan National Forum on Women Health (PNFWH), Dr. Sajjad Ahmed Siddiqui , stated that, an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 new fistula cases are being reported in Pakistan, out of which 500 – 600 patients were brought in for treatment; whereas, a huge number of such cases are neither diagnosed in time nor provided with necessary intervention, due to lack of awareness in our society.
One of the most serious injuries of childbirth, Obstetric fistula is a hole in the birth canal caused by prolonged, obstructed labor due to the lack of timely and adequate medical care. “In most cases, either the baby is stillborn or dies within the first week of life, and the woman suffers a devastating injury.” Dr. Siddiqui added that, many women with fistula are shunned by their families and communities, deepening their poverty and magnifying their suffering.
Representative of Society of Obstetricians & Gynecologists of Pakistan (SOGP), Dr. Nusrat Shah further stated that, approximately 2 million women live with obstetric fistula in the developing countries and most of the women suffered with this condition during pregnancy, due to unskilled birth attendants. She added that, major factors of this high fistula cases’ incidence are social and cultural issues like early marriages, poverty, lack of education, high fertility rate and poor heath infrastructure.
Dr. Nusrat explained that, obstetric fistula is preventable and in most cases, treatable childbirth injury leaves women incontinent and ashamed by her condition. She stressed upon educating and training midwives, to improve maternal and neonatal care in Pakistan.
Treasurer, Pakistan Medical Association, Centre, Dr. Qazi Wasiq informed that fistula treatment facilities are available in Karachi, Hyderabad, Lahore, Islamabad, Quetta, Peshawar, Multan and other cities, totally free of cost for needy patients. He discussed the score of fistula patients treated within the centers across Pakistan and added that efforts are required to bring in more patients for treatment, by overcoming socio-cultural myths.
General Secretary, PMA, Karachi Dr. Abdul Ghafoor Shoro, Social Activist, Sheema Kermani, Dr. Mirza Ali Azhar and other notable personnel also spoke at this occasion.