The first International Conference of Midwives in Central and West Africa saw the official launch of a campaign to promote the use of Foley Catheters for the early treatment and prevention of obstetric fistula. This simple and cheap intervention can be safely implemented by midwives and has the potential of curing up to 25,000 of the 100,000 new obstetric fistula cases that occur every year.
From the 18th till the 28th of May Dr. Raassen, in partnership with WAHA International, will be carrying out another fistula camp, this time in Sumbawanga on the shores of lake Tanganyika in Tanzania. More informations and pictures will follow.
At the opening ceremony this morning, the Minister of Health and the representative of the UNFPA in Benin called on national midwife associations across Central and West Africa to use this opportunity to identify practical recommendations regarding their role in obstetric fistula care and to raise the profile of midwives in this campaign to eliminate fistula.
From the 3rd to the 7th of May an obstetric fistula camp was carried out in the Mary Immaculate hospital of Mapuordit, South Sudan, in partnership with Dr. Tom Raassen, surgeon and fistula expert, and anaesthetist Dr. Mahendeka.
WAHA International and the President of the National Midwives Association of Benin, Mme Monteiro are organising the first international midwives conference for midwife associations in West and Central Africa. The conference will take place in Cotonou in Benin between the 18-19th May and will explore the role of midwives in the prevention and treatment of obstetric fistula.
"We’ve seen 3 obstetric fistula patients coming all the way from south of Mogadishu in Somalia,” says Dr Essam from WAHA International. “It took them two days to come here. We also treated a Somali woman who has suffered from vesicovaginal fistula for the past 20 years. She has been through a very difficult time as she lost her five children and her husband in the war there. She now lives with some relatives in Somaliland.”