UNFPA launches Obstetric fistula treatment, prevention programme in Namayingo

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), withsupport from the Government of Iceland, has launched a three-year comprehensive Obstetric Fistula survivors’ treatment and prevention Programme in Namayingo district.

The launch of this program aims to address the significant health challenges faced by women suffering from obstetric fistula.


Obstetric fistula is a debilitating childbirth injury that occurs when prolonged or obstructed labor leads to a hole between the birth canal and either the rectum or bladder, resulting in incontinence and often social isolation. In many cases, women affected by fistula endure not only physical pain but also endure social stigma and discrimination.


At the launch event held at Namayingo district headquarters, representatives from the UNFPA and the Iceland government, along with local healthcare providers, community leaders, and district technical officials convened to announce the commencement of the Fistula Program. Speakers highlighted the urgent need to address obstetric fistula and its devastating impact on the lives of women in the district.


Ms. Gift Malunga, the UNFPA representative, expressed gratitude for the generous funding from the Government of Iceland. She emphasized the importance of providing comprehensive care and support to women suffering from fistula, including medical treatment, psychosocial support, and efforts to combat stigma.


Ms. Hilda Engilbertsdottir, Iceland’s head of mission, reaffirmed Iceland's commitment to supporting initiatives that promote women's health, empowerment and education. She emphasized the importance of addressing the stigma associated with obstetric fistula, which often prevents women from seeking the care and support they desperately need.


Mr. Kauta Abdullah Twaha noted that a number of women suffer silently due to the misconceptions associated with fistula.


“In many rural communities, obstetric fistula has been associated with witchcraft. The affected mothers tend to seek interventions from traditional healers instead of accessing services from health facilities,” Kauta said.


Dr. Reginald Rony Bahatungire, the acting commissioner health services in-charge of clinical services in the ministry of health called for urgent need to raise awareness and eliminate stigma surrounding this preventable and treatable condition.


The launch was officiated by the director of bilateral cooperation -Iceland government, David Biameam and attended by the head of co-operation Sveinn H Gudmarsson, Representatives from the Swedish embassy, ministry of health, implementing partners and the district health fraternity.


Friday, February 9, 2024