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NGO Promotes Women Health With Free Fistula Treatment In Tanzania

The Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation Tanzania (CCBRT), an NGO dedicated to addressing gender inequality and improving maternal health, is taking proactive measures to treat obstetric fistula among women in rural areas.

Dr Brenda Msangi, CEO of CCBRT, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Friday in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, that the organisation in collaboration with donor partners were working tirelessly to provide free surgical repair for women suffering from fistula.

NAN reports that Obstetric fistula, is a debilitating childbirth injury resulting from prolonged and obstructed labour, affects thousands of women in Tanzania, leaving them with severe physical and social consequences.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), many women suffering from this condition face stigma, isolation, and limited access to healthcare.

Additionally, Msangi said that the initiative includes educational and employment programmes to raise awareness about maternal health and promote early detection and treatment of obstetric fistula.

“Our goal is not only to provide medical treatment but also to empower women with the knowledge and resources to prevent and address obstetric fistula,” she said.

She explained that they had trained ambassadors across communities who were familiar with locating these women and ensuring they received treatment.

“We’ve trained both women and men as ambassadors from various regions in mainland Tanzania.

“The training primarily focuses on educating the ambassadors about the signs of these diseases and the necessary considerations before arranging travel to CCBRT.

“We inform the ambassadors that if a woman delivers her child naturally and develops fistula, the woman must wait for 40 days before seeking treatment.

“However, if the delivery was via cesarean section, the woman must wait for three months before seeking treatment,” she told NAN.

She said that the initiative was already making a significant impact, with hundreds of women receiving life-changing surgeries and support services.

By addressing obstetric fistula, she said that the organisation aimed to break the cycle of poverty and inequality faced by many women in the country, ultimately contributing to the country’s development and prosperity.

According to her, the citizens have come to welcome the initiative, recognising its importance in promoting gender equality and improving maternal health outcomes in the country.

She disclosed that in Tanzania, annual incidences of obstetric fistula ranged from 1,200 to 3,700 and of those, less than 1,400 received treatment, leaving thousands of women with the condition untreated each year.

“In most cases, fistula can be treated with surgery, but many women in Tanzania cannot afford the cost of accessing medical help.

“Using cell phones, Tanzania’s largest provider of fistula surgery – CCBRT, is breaking down this barrier

“From when it started treating fistula, CCBRT and satellite facilities have treated more than 10,000 women living with fistula, enabling them to re-establish clean and respected identities as well as reinstating their productive and reproductive capabilities,” she said.

According to her, more than 90 per cent of fistula patients were completely healed and went home to unite with their families, equally participating in the community, family and personal social and economic activities.


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