We are working to treat and prevent fistula in Kenya, PS Health

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 23, 2017 – Significant strides have been made in eliminating fistula in Kenya. Principal Secretary for Health, Mr. Julius Korir, said on Tuesday the Government recognizes maternal mortality as a key indicator of health system effectiveness and has established structures to accelerate the availability and use of universally accessible quality health services including those related to maternal health services which are critical for reducing birth complications.

Korir said that this has been done through the strengthening health systems with theatre equipment, sterilisation and surgical sets through the Managed Equipment Project with a view to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals and National goals like the Vision 2030.

The Ministry he added is collaborating with Development Partners to formulate initiatives for improving quality of care for mothers and new-borns. “Specifically these initiatives are geared towards the delivery of safe, effective, timely, efficient, equitable, and people-centred maternal and new-born care during childbirth,” said Korir.

However, the PS noted that despite the progress made in improving access to obstetric care services, there still exist disparities among women of various demographic characteristics.

He observed that “Obstetric fistula, a devastating condition that shouldn’t be happening in this era, happens mostly to vulnerable and marginalized women in our society and due to the stigma associated with this condition, many women suffer the indignity quietly from a condition that has been virtually eliminated in the industrialized world.”

The PS thanked the Beyond Zero initiative for sensitizing the citizens and the leadership on various health aspects including dealing with issues of stigma and discrimination for conditions like reproductive fistula and HIV.

“I also want to acknowledge our partners for supporting the National Program in the areas of capacity building of health workers, community mobilization, and provision of hospital equipment, funding fistula repair and rehabilitation of the fistula survivors,” he added.

The PS urged the partners to work together with the healthcare workers in public and private sectors and the communities to ensure universal access to reproductive health services.

He made the remarks during the opening of the first Reproductive Health Conference and marking of the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula at Kenyatta University by the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta. The theme of the conference is “Ending Obstetric Fistula in a Generation.

The Conference is expected to examine challenges and opportunities that can be used to reduce obstetric fistula including treatment options, community initiatives, technological advances and research.  In addition, the Conference will generate knowledge on how obstetric fistula can be prevented.