He thanked those who formulated the strategy
State Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Murad Hasan has said that Bangladesh will be free of obstetric fistula before 2030, much earlier than the target set by the United Nations.
He made the remark at the launching workshop of a five-year strategy – National Strategy for Obstetric Fistula 2017-2022 – at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) on Wednesday.
The state minister said: "The implementation of the strategy will facilitate us to make Bangladesh fistula-free before 2030."
He also thanked the officials who formulated the strategy while addressing the workshop, organized by UNFPA.
The program was arranged to mark the upcoming International Day to End Fistula on May 23.
Shamshul Haque, line director of MNC and AH of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), said: “If we see the number of obstetric fistulas, it might seem low, but the miseries of such patients is unbearable.
“They remain silent because of stigma, and gradually, become victims of social and economic exclusion.”
Mashiur-Al-Islam, deputy director and program manager of Maternal and Newborn Care (MNC) of DGHS, said: "The target of the strategy is to reach a zero status in obstetric fistula incidence in Bangladesh.
“It will help in decreasing obstetric fistula prevalence up to 90%, and provide social safety net to at least 50% of the patients who are treatable and curable, and have been identified from 2017 to 2022."
UNFPA Country Representative in Bangladesh Dr Asa Torkelsson said fistula has vanished from the developed world, but the problem still exists in developing countries.
In Bangladesh, there are some 20,000 obstetric fistula patients and the number is increasing, she added.
The president of the program, DGHS Director General (DG) Prof Dr Abul Kalam Azad, said: “There is no accurate figure of obstetric fistula patients in Bangladesh.
“Sometimes, the number is said to be 10,000, and sometimes it is 70,000. But the estimated figure, as the strategy paper showed, is somewhat acceptable.
"The number of afflicted persons is not so high. If we want, with proper action obstetric fistula can be completely eradicated from Bangladesh," he added.
He said according to the strategy paper, Bangladesh has some 108 fistula surgeons, but only 68 of them are living in the country. And among them, only a handful are regularly conducting surgeries.
If all the fistula surgeons worked properly, the problem would have vanished in no time, he added.
Directorate General of Department of Nursing and Midwifery DG Tandra Shikder, DGHS ADG (Admin) Prof Dr Nasima Sultana, Director of Office of Population, Health, Nutrition and Education of USAID Bangladesh Carroll Vasquez, and several other senior government health officials, as well as NGO and INGO officials were present at the program.
How do we end fistula in Bangladesh
· Ensure universal access to quality reproductive health services
· Prevent child marriage
· Prevent early childbearing
· Promote human rights and reproductive health through the education system
· Involve men actively for solving the matter
· Create awareness
· Make information available to the patients as to where they can get treatment
· Break the silence and stigma and talk about the problem
· Provide training to nurses and midwives to identify and assist in ensuring treatment
· Ensure quality health care during childbirth
Source: National Strategy for Obstetric Fistula 2017-2022