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Awdal Women Raise Funds For First Fistula Hospital In Somaliland, 2nd In Africa
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, March 20, 2007 – Awdal community women in Minnesota have raised US$8000 for the construction of the first Fistula Hospital in Borama, Awdal region of Somaliland. It will be the second of its kind in Africa after the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital.
In a statement sent to Awdalnews Network, Ibado Geelle expressed the hope that the hospital would help reduce the death rate of obstetric fistula and would alleviate the suffering and stigma associated with the condition.
"Our gratitude and appreciation goes to all the women who contributed to this noble effort both morally and materially," she said.
According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) obstetric fistula is a hole in the birth canal caused by prolonged labor without prompt medical intervention, usually a Caesarean section. The woman is left with chronic incontinence and, in most cases, a stillborn baby.
There is also a stigma related with the condition as the smell of leaking urine or faeces, or both, is constant and humiliating, often driving loved ones away.
Although simple surgery can normally repair the injury, with success rates as high as 90 per cent for experienced surgeons, if left untreated, fistula can lead to chronic medical problems, including ulcerations, kidney disease, and nerve damage in the legs.
The UNFPA global Campaign to End Fistula launched in 2003 states that at least 2 million women in Africa, Asia and the Arab region are living with the condition, and some 50,000 to 100,000 new cases develop each year, noting that the persistence of fistula is a signal that health systems are failing to meet the needs of women.
The Addis-Ababa Fistula Hospital, established in 1974 by two Australian doctors, is the only hospital in the world that specializes in fistula surgery.
According to the Hospital's Website, it has a success rate of 93%. Over 1,200 patients are operated on each year. Over 24,000 women have been cured since the work began. All are treated free of charge.
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Source: Awdalnews Network