MISS GHANA @ 50, Frances Tekyi-Mensah has called on government to place high on its health agenda Obstetric Fistula, a disease which is gradually becoming common among women in some remote areas of Ghana, especially in the northern part of the country.
Obstetric Fistula is medical condition of a hole in the birth canal caused by prolonged labour without prompt medical attention which usually leads to a Caesarean section.
Women are left with chronic incontinence and in most cases, stillborn babies.
There is also the leaking of urine or faeces or both, which when not treated could lead to chronic medical problems including ulcerations, kidney disease and nerve damage in the legs. At least two million women in Africa, Asia and the Arab region are living with the condition, and about 50,000 to 100,000 new cases develop each year.
In an exclusive interview with Beatwaves last Friday, the beauty queen stated that every little issue is very important. However, “It is just unfortunate government is not really putting the issue of Fistula high on its health development agenda.”
She said though the disease is with us, little is done to educate the public on it, unlike Malaria, HIV and AIDS among other diseases.
The 21-year-old, after winning the Miss Ghana crown with the support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA), took up the project of educating the public on Fistula infection.
She has been in some remote areas of the North with the campaign.
She told Beatwaves that it has not been easy. “People don’t know about Fistula. Anytime I explain it to them they are surprised we have such a condition in Ghana and they don’t know about it,” she indicated, adding that some even hardly understood her as she had to explain the disease to them over and over again.
“I am still trying to break through,” she said optimistically.
To aid women in the North affected by Fistula, Frances disclosed that she was setting up a trust fund as well as raising funds for the women to undergo simple surgery.
According to her, a surgery costs 300 dollars and “either the women do not know about it or do not have money to afford it. For those who can afford, there are not enough doctors to operate on them. So after raising the funds, I will set a week-long activity of doctors operating on such women in the region, besides creating public awareness on Fistula,” she indicated.
She called on government to establish more clinics in the remotest parts of the country, especially in the northern regions.
Source: Modern Ghana – 17 February 2008