KARACHI - Healthcare experts have stressed the need for changing in socio-cultural behaviours of society to reduce maternal mortality rate, as well as, to prevent women from complication related with fistula in Pakistan.

“Every year, an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 new fistula cases are being reported in Pakistan out of which 20 to 30 per cent such patients were brought to hospitals for surgery while a big number of these cases are neither diagnosed in time nor provided with the required intervention,” said President, Pakistan National Forum on Women’s Health (PNFWH) Dr Shershah Syed during a press conference held at PMA House.

Secretary General, Pakistan Medical Association, SM Qasir Sajjad, Prof Sadequa Jaffery, Prof Pushpa Sirichand, Razia Shamshad and other were also present.

Shershah Syed informed 2million women live with obstetric fistula in the developing countries and most of these women get fistula disease during pregnancy due to unskilled birth attendants.

He said major factors of this high fistula cases’ incidence are social and cultural issues like early marriages, poverty, and lack of education, high fertility rate and poor healthcare infrastructure.

He informed that United Nations set a new target to end Obstetric Fistula by 2030 during 72nd United National General Assembly session held on September 18, 2017 at UN headquarters.

He said a three-member delegation comprised Razia Shamshad, Dr Shershah and Dr Sajjad from Pakistan represented the country.  Fistula survivor Razia Shmashad shared her story with audience during the UN session.  He said this new goal set by the UN to end maternal deaths in 2030 is also possible in Pakistan if the government shows will and commitment through their policies.

Prof Sadequa Jaffery said obstetric fistula is a preventable and in most cases treatable childbirth injury that leaves women incontinent, ashamed and often isolated from their communities. She said the disease occurs when a woman or girl suffers prolonged, obstructed labour without timely access to an emergency.  She said midwives are playing very important role in developed countries in safe motherhood program and it is very important to replicate those programs to improve maternal and neonatal care in Pakistan.

Secretary General, PMA, SM Qasir Sajjad, congratulated the three-member delegation who represented Pakistan in the United Nations session to End Obstetric Fistula by 2030. He demanded of the government to play its role to achieve this target.  Program Officer,  PNFWH, Dr Sajjad Ahmed Siddiqui, informed that fistula treatment facilities are available in Karachi, Hyderabad, Lahore, Islamabad,  Quetta, Peshawar, Multan and some other cities free of cost.

 

He said about 6000 fistula patients have already been treated in centers across the country, adding more efforts are needed to bring more patients for treatment by removing socio-cultural myths.