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The media competition on the elimination of obstetric fistula has been launched

ByWebmaster

Nov 8, 2023

BUJUMBURA, November 8th (ABP) – The Ministry of Public Health and the Fight against AIDS, in partnership with the National Reproductive Health Program (PNSR), officially launched, on Monday November 6, 2023, in Bujumbura, the media competition on the elimination of obstetric fistula in Burundi.

In his speech for the launch of the competition organized under the theme “End Fistula”, the deputy director of the PNSR, Mr. Vianney Rukanura, revealed that the obstetric fistula disease is a reality in Burundi. He invited media professionals to fully play their role in raising awareness among the people about its consequences, with a view to avoiding it and eradicating it down to 0 obstetric fistula in Burundi.

Mr. Rukanura reported that the Government of Burundi, in collaboration with its partners in the health sector, set up the Urumuri center in Gitega province (center of the country) to treat that disease. The activities of that center aim to implement the government of Burundi’s policy for reproductive health care and the vision of the 5th millennium development goal, namely good health and welfare for all.

                                                                                        View of the participants including Dr. Josiane Nijimbere (forefront)

For the year 2022, he specified, among the women who were treated at the Urumuri center, 94% recovered well. He also deplored that among those women, there are young women and girls under 20 years. Studies show that their children are likely to die.

“We want media professionals to provide their remarkable support to the Ministry of Health by preparing broadcasts on the fight against this disease, so that the entire population knows how to avoid it, that it is forbidden to discriminate against girls or the woman affected by this disease and that the patient knows where to go for care because it is treatable and curable,” he insisted while recalling that unity is strength.

For his part, the delegate of the UNFPA resident representative in Burundi, Dr Kacou Pierre Konan, said that the UNFPA is very happy to be alongside the ministry in charge of public health through its PNSR to launch such a media competition, in order to promote the fight against obstetric fistulas through all media communication channels.

He noted that in Burundi as elsewhere, motherhood is often a moment of happiness, but that for some women, it is synonymous with death, suffering, disability such as obstetric fistula which is a complication directly linked to difficult and prolonged childbirth, sometimes lasting several days.

He also revealed that 9 out of 10 women give birth thanks to qualified personnel and that the maternal mortality ratio, however, still remains high, that is to say, out of 100,000 live births, there are 334 women who lose their life.

He explained that obstetric fistula, commonly known as backyard disease, is characterized by the permanent loss of urine with/or without feces in women or girls. It can be accompanied by damage to mental health due to stigmatization, isolation as well as family and community rejection. “The persistence of obstetric fistula is a tragedy, but hope persists because it is preventable, treatable and curable,” he stressed.

In her presentation on obstetric fistula, Mrs. Josiane Nijimbere of the PNSR indicated that there are three types of obstetric fistulas, namely the urogenital fistula which is a communication between the urinary and genital tracts, the rectovaginal fistula which is a communication between the rectum and the vagina, thus leading to permanent loss of feces through the vagina as well as mixed fistulas, that is to say, losses of both feces and urine.

The main factors of obstetric fistula are early marriages and pregnancies, the case of a woman of short stature (height less than 1.50 m), the narrowing of the pelvis or the deformed pelvis, the large fetus in relation to the pelvis of women, the malformed fetus for example hydrocephalus (large head filled with water), illiteracy, poverty and erroneous beliefs.

That disease also has significant consequences at the level of the victim and society. These include chronic urinary and/or fecal incontinence, divorce or abandonment, discrimination, stigmatization, isolation, shame, loss of hope, rejection, infection, while 62% of babies who are born in such circumstances die, Mrs. Nijimbere deplored.

Corroborating the presentation made by Mrs. Nijimbere, the Reproductive Health program manager at UNFPA, Dr. Yolande Magonyagi, called for the involvement of everyone in the all-out eradication of that disease.

                                                                                                                                     Dr. Yolande Magonyagi

Regarding the very competition, the communications officer at UNFPA, Mrs. Queen Belle Monique Nyeniteka, specified that this competition is open to any journalist working in Burundi and recognized by the National Media Council (CNC). All broadcast languages are accepted. The deadline is November 26, 2023 and applications will be submitted online. The terms of reference are published on all UNFPA communication channels (UNFPA LinkedIn, Facebook and X), she clarified.