Oil rich Bunyoro region demands Fistula unit as cases surge


Sarah Opendi, Uganda’s State Minister for Health in Charge of Primary Health Care


Bunyoro district leaders want an obstetric Fistula Unit established in the region which tops Uganda in fistula cases.   Obstetric fistula is a hole between the birth canal and the bladder or rectum caused by prolonged, obstructed labor without treatment.

The condition, which occurs as one of the most tragic injuries that occur during childbirth involves the involuntary pass out of urine or feces among sufferers.  About 200,000 women suffer fistula in Uganda while about 1,900 new cases occur each year.

According to the Ministry of Health, 4 percent of these cases are in Bunyoro Sub-region, signifying the highest fistula prevalence in Uganda.

It’s against this background that officials in the region are advocating for a fistula unit in the region. “The existence of such a unit would ease access to treatment for women with such complications,” the Bishop of Bunyoro Kitara Diocese Nathan Kyamanywa said.

The Bishop expressed the diocese’s willingness to offer land for such a facility, if government decided to establish it in the region. Norman Lukumu, the Bunyoro Kingdom Prime Minister says the kingdom is concerned over the high fistula prevalence in Bunyoro.

Lukumu pledges the kingdom’s readiness to work with the ministry to sensitize women on the basic preventive measures. He however emphasizes the need to have a fistula Unit in the region. Hoima Woman Member of Parliament Tophace Kaahwa Byagira says the region needs such a facility to curtail the rampant fistula cases.

Byagira also stresses a need for government to re-equip the existing health centers and provide ambulances so that women in labor are rushed to these health facilities.

Sarah Opendi, the state Minister for Health in charge of Primary Health Care says fistula is preventable and thus a need for leaders to mobilize expectant mothers to always seek antenatal care and also decampaign early marriages, which lead to early pregnancies.

“Sometimes Obstetric Fistula occurs because girls are not mature enough to push the babies. The minister emphasizes that as government works to building a strong health system, preventive measures should be adhered to, “the minister emphasizes.

On Saturday Uganda joined the rest of the world to mark International Fistula Day. National celebrations were held at Hoima Boma grounds in Hoima district under the theme, “End Fistula, Save Women’s Dignity.

”The event was preceded by a week-long fistula camp at Hoima regional referral hospital, where 48 fistula patients were operated on. Meanwhile in Uganda treatment for this complication is still impended by lack of enough specialists. Ministry of Health statistics indicate that Uganda has only 25 fistula surgeons, a number too small to deal with the ever increasing cases.