Somalia: Puntland marks international day to end Obstetric Fistula


GAROWE, Puntland- Puntland Ministry of Health and UNFPA have jointly convened a high profile ceremony in Garowe city, the capital of Somalia's northeaster region of Puntland, to mark the international day to end Obstetric Fistula on Tuesday, Garowe Online reports.

The colorful ceremony aimed to renew the momentum gathered in previous campaigns and refresh public awareness. The event was held at the Ministry Health’s compound and saw the participation of representatives from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Woman, UNFPA, government officials, international partners and members of the civil society.

During the event, Health Minister delivered a keynote speech in which he highlighted the staggering number of women living with obstetric fistula. He said: “2 million women or girls are estimated to live with obstetric fistula, with up-to a million more developing the condition.” The Minister applauded UNFPA’s substantial support without which the success of recent fistula campaigns would not be possible.

Both the Health Minister and other speakers blamed obstructed labour unattended by skilled health professionals and the inhumane practice of FGM as the main causes. 

“Whilst there are no quick fixes for the infrastructural and cultural factors underpinning these causes, we remain committed and are confident that we can reduce the frequency of this horrendous condition and the unspeakable suffering that it causes,” said the Minister.

In a determined tone, the Minister outlined a clear vision for extending comprehensive emergency maternal obstetric/newborn care (CEMONC) to those remote communities where obstetric fistula, maternal and newborn deaths are most frequent just because these communities have limited or no access to professional health assistance. 

“We have completed a training course for 10 doctors intended to work in 10 facilities located in most hard-to-reach communities. We are also in the process of mobilising resources for upgrading and equipping these facilities,” the Minister added.

The Head of UNFPA Sub-Office, Dr Bakhtior Kadirov, delivered a speech acknowledging the leadership and ownership demonstrated by the Puntland government in its support and stewardship over the concerted effort of saving maternal and newborn lives through the CARMMA Action Plan and the Acceleration Plan on Mother and Child Health.  

Dr Kadirov also commended the active role played by the Somali diaspora community by mobilizing funds to supplement the 2016 fistula campaign that saw successful surgical repairs for 60 women and girls.

 “A country's economic, health and social harmony is measured in the health of its women. Let’s bring hope, healing, and dignity for all,” concluded Dr Kadirov.

The ceremony featured a drama play aimed to promote skilled birth attendance, involvement of men and public awareness.


Related articles