The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has called for accelerated action among global stakeholders to bridge the funding gap in prevention and treatment of obstetric fistula, caused by prolonged and obstructed labour, without access to timely and quality medical treatment.
Obaseki made the call in commemoration of this year’s International Day to end Obstetric Fistula, marked by the United Nations and its sister agencies, with the theme, “End Fistula Now: Invest in Quality Healthcare, Empower Communities!”
The governor, who linked the rising death from obstetric fistula to poor access to high-quality maternal health services, charged stakeholders to increase efforts at ending the menace by improving investment in strengthening health systems, as well as in research, awareness and prevention and treatment of obstetric fistula.
He said, “On this year’s International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, we must recommit to ending the scourge by strengthening our healthcare systems to guarantee quality maternal health services and ensuring improved access to treatment of one of the most serious and tragic childbirth injuries, which affects at least two million women and girls worldwide.”
Obaseki said ongoing reforms in the healthcare system in Edo will guarantee access to quality reproductive health services, including access to skilled birth attendants and high-quality emergency obstetric care, and address preventable stillbirths, noting that the state has launched the ‘Help Baby Survive’ initiative, aimed at reducing the incidence of maternal and child mortality in the state.
The governor further added, “As a government, we are sustaining efforts at improving quality and affordable healthcare for women and children through the decentralization of our healthcare system and revamp of primary healthcare centres, equipping them with world-class equipment and manpower.”
“We have taken deliberate steps to ensure improved access to quality maternal health services and have embarked on several initiatives including the ‘Help Baby Survive’ initiative, to reduce the incidence of maternal and child mortality in the state. We are strengthening our health system and training health personnel from all medical facilities in the state to equip them with specialised knowledge to tackle neonatal deaths,” he noted.
According to the United Nations, “About 800 women die from pregnancy, or childbirth-related complications around the world every day. For every woman who dies of maternal related causes, it is estimated that at least 20 women experience maternal morbidity, one of the most severe forms of which is obstetric fistula. Obstetric fistula is an abnormal opening between a woman’s genital tract and her urinary tract, or rectum caused by prolonged, obstructed labour without treatment.”