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Increasing fistula cases overwhelm doctors

By Vision Reporter

Added 18th June 2014 09:37 AM

Ugandan doctors have expressed worry over the high number of fistula cases in the country that has overstretched the available medics with special skills in repairing the disease.

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By John Agaba

Ugandan doctors have expressed worry over the high number of fistula cases in the country that has overstretched the available medics with special skills in repairing the disease.


Dr. Susan Obore, a fistula surgeon at Mulago Hospital, said a big number of women who develop obstetric fistula every year are not treated.

“At least more 1900 women contract fistula every year. But we cannot repair these women in a year. At Mulago here (the fistula ward) we repair about 300 cases in a year.  At least every regional referral hospital in the country has a surgeon to treat fistula. But we are not enough,” Dr. Obore said.

“Every year we carry forward scores of women with fistula because we can’t treat them. This pauses a challenge because even in the next year there are going to be fresh cases,” she said.

According to the 2011 Uganda health demographic survey, 2% of women in the reproductive age group (14-49 years) have a fistula. This means that there is an estimated 140,000 - 200,000 women Uganda with the problem compared to about 21 doctors with special skills in correcting the condition.

As a result, Dr. Obore said some women aged 60 years and above still live with fistula they contracted when they were young.

On Monday, TERREWODE, an association for the rehabilitation of women for development, donated three consignments containing gloves, catheters, and other medical equipment to the Mulago Fistula Ward.

The supplies will help to support the correction of fistula in about 200 patients, Obore said.

WHAT IS FISTULA

A fistula  is an abnormal connection between an organ, vessel, or intestine and another structure. Fistulas are usually caused by injury or surgery, but they can also result from an infection or inflammation.

Fistulas are generally a disease condition, but they may be surgically created for therapeutic reasons.

When not used by medical professionals, the term is often used to refer to a urogenital fistula.

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Increasing fistula cases overwhelm doctors

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