About 94 women from several districts in the country have a new lease on life following the life changing operations carried out at Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe.
The women of different ages have been living with the childbirth injury called obstetric fistula which is a hole in the birth canal caused by prolonged obstructed labour due to lack of timely and adequate medical care which made them unable to control their bladders, and in some cases, stools.
The operations have been carried out with financial and technical support from United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Malawi at the Fistula Care Centre.
Luckness Mwafulirwa, from Traditional Authority (T/A) Mwirang’ombe in Karonga, lived with fistula for over 30 years which occurred when giving birth but was operated on.
“If I had known about these operations, my life would have been better. I have stayed many years just smelling urine everywhere I went such that people just became used to it,” Mwafulirwa said.
Melesi Mandikiza, 25, from Mozambique, also had the same problem.
“I have been in a number of hospitals since February trying to seek help and it’s only this time that I had an operation,” she said.
UNFPA resident representative Violet Kakyomya said fistula represents a threat to the enjoyment of right to life, health, dignity and sexual reproductive health for women.
“Obstetric fistula is a public health and human rights issue, not only for women but the whole country. Fistula causes severe disability, discrimination, abandonment and insecurity amongst women. UNFPA Malawi is, therefore, pleased to be associated with this life changing service to women,” she said.
Lilongwe district health officer Mwawi Mwale said it was the first time that Bwaila Hospital has handled such a number of women for fistula repairs but said he was happy that, with assistance from UNFPA, it was a success.