Legislators merge efforts with civil society organizations to intervene on fistula

By Alice Lubwama

A section of legislators mainly under the Network for African Women Ministers and Parliamentarians under Uganda chapter working with civil society organization advocating for maternal health are devising ways to convince Government in particular the ministry health and finance to have a separate budget for Fistula treatment services across the country.

A group of law makers mainly women on Wednesday met in Kampala with civil society organizations helping in the treatment of the disease across the country and agreed to involve all the stake holders including the speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga and the president to push for a separate budget for fistula under the ministry of health to help the suffering women and girls who are facing this problem of constant leakage of urine and feces through the birth canal.

According to DR Mukasa Kivunike an obstetrician with UNFPA the focus should be on stopping teenage pregnancy and equipping health facilities with commodities and supplies if the country is to
eradicate the problem of fistula.

Obstetric fistula is a condition defined as an abnormal opening between the birth canal and the bladder that results in constant leakage of urine or feces

It affects pregnant women most especially those who lack access to timely and quality care, prolonged labor and lack of skilled attendance at birth.

Mukasa said that the separate funding for fistula among other things will enable the training of medical personnel to acquire specialized skills in fistula repairs noting that not every doctor can treat the disease.

Dr Mukasa also noted that if the development partners pull out their support in the treatment of fistula now, more woman will suffer since most of the repairs of fistula are being done under medical camps sponsored by donors.

Hon Beatrice Rwakimari Ntungamo woman mp said that as parliament they have been advocating for increased funding for reproductive health to be a priority for ministry of health but the ministry has its
priorities including travels abroad.

She adds that even when the money is allocated for a particular program, the ministry of health divert it to its own priorities.