Korea International Cooperation Agency (Koica) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)-funded Action for Teen Mothers Project have launched a fistula unit at Mchinji District Hospital.
Speaking in Mchinji on Tuesday during the launch of the project, Koica Tanzania country director Manshik Shin said the fistula unit will enhance care and protection of women and adolescent girls that may be affected by fistula.
“I met so many survivors of fistula today who seem so happy after successful operations. They stated that they encounter a lot of challenges because of fistula, so this is a development that will help protect women from those challenges,” he said.
UNFPA country representative Nelida Rodriguez said the fistula unit is a significant step toward achieving universal access to quality fistula care.
She said: “Notably, simple fistula cases will now be treated at the district level, eliminating the need to refer patients to Lilongwe and, therefore, bringing services closer to those in need.
“This change undoubtedly will improve access to treatment for obstetric fistula survivors in Mchinji District.”
Ministry of Health director of health sector and intergovernmental coordination Amon Nkhata said the ministry is working tirelessly to ensure contraceptives are available to avoid unplanned pregnancies among teenagers.
“The most vulnerable group is adolescent girls and young women who become pregnant at an early age which leads to fistula during childbirth,” he said.
Mchinji District Health Office (DHO) acting director for health and social services Yohane Mwale hailed the opening of a fistula unit.
“Patients with fistula were referred to Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe which was expensive,” he said.
Besides Mchinji, UNFPA and Koica have also funded the opening of a fistula unit at Dedza District Hospital.
Both units have received equipment and trained personnel on surgeries.