MoGCSP Supports Launch of GOFPMSP

World Fistula Day Ghana Launch

June 22, 2017 11:08 am

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) has supported the launched of the ‘Ghana Obstetric Fistula Prevention and Management Plan (GOFPMSP) 2017 – 2021, at the event organized by the Ghana Health Service and UNFPA to commemorate the ‘2017 International Day to End Obstetric Fistula’ held on the 23rd May, 2017.

The general theme for this year’s commemoration is “Hope, Healing and Dignity for All”.

The GOFPMSP has been developed to establish and maintain sustainable funding mechanisms with the aim to halve obstetric fistula cases in Ghana by the year 2021 and eliminate obstetric fistula by 2030.

Making her statement, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Otiko Afisah Djaba has called on all relevant stakeholders – Development Partners, Practitioners, Civil Society Organisations, Religious and Traditional authorities and the general public – to contribute effectively to ensure that women do not continue to suffer in their attempt to bless this world with another life. “No woman should suffer such embarrassing and undignified circumstances of fistula that kills their joy, happiness, and hope”, she added.

Hon. Otiko Djaba has therefore challenged all citizens to play a role in helping women who are suffering from this illness and not banish them, but rather show them support love and care.

She said that under the able leadership of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, her Ministry would continue to work with stakeholders to ensure that Obstetric Fistula is eliminated in Ghana.

The Ministry in 2016, with funding support from the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre has repaired 155 cases of Fistula. ‘Success rates for surgery are as high as 90 per cent for cases that are not complex; however, the marginalised women are not aware and can hardly afford the cost of the reconstructive surgery,’ she said.

Hon. Otiko Djaba said the Ministry would continue to partner organisations such as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre to repair obstetric fistulas for women as well as intensify sensitisation of stakeholders on sexual reproductive health, Fistula and Child Marriage.

She stressed about some traditional practices and beliefs including; Female Genital Mutilation, early and forced marriages and child birth, which contributed to the high incidence of obstetric fistula in the country.

The Minister, nevertheless, noted that one of the main challenges facing the fight for gender equity and equality has to do with stigmatisation, insufficient access of women and girls to excellence health care delivery and the absence of adequate measures to secure and protect their rights. “These women are more exposed to develop obstetric fistula because of the lack of power to make decisions which affect their lives and well-being such as when to seek medical help in the absence of the husband when labour sets in”, she added.

Hon. Otiko Afisah Djaba has also promised to enroll women affected with Fistula on the Ministry’s Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty(LEAP) Programme, to help uplift their economic status as many face challenges with funds for treatment of the illness.

May 23 was established by the UN General Assembly on March 5, 2003, to draw the world’s attention to one of the reproductive health challenges women face as they undertake their reproductive role of pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetric fistula is a severe medical condition in which a fistula (hole) develops either between the rectum and vagina (recto-vaginal fistula) or between the bladder and vagina (vesico-vaginal fistula) after complications resulting from childbirth.

The commemoration of this day globally, is a call to action to identify fistula patients and provide care, support and treatment for them to live in dignity and hope. Obstetric Fistula is a treatable illness and nothing to be ashamed off.