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Dhaka Tribune

Rehabilitation offers obstetric fistula patients normal life in Rajshahi

Obstetric fistula is one of the most devastating pregnancy-related morbidity, mostly affecting women from marginalized socio-economic backgrounds

Update : 03 Oct 2021, 11:55 AM

Obstetric fistula patients are getting back to their normal lives thanks to the availability of various rehabilitation services in Rajshahi. 

Multiple organizations have been implementing need-based programs in this regard for the last couple of years.

Diversified rehabilitation therapies are being executed on behalf of a project titled "Elimination of Genital Fistula by Capturing, Treating, Rehabilitating and Reintegrating in Bangladesh (FRRei)" to mitigate the health related problem.

Project Manager Mahatab Liton told BSS that the project is being implemented in different districts, including Rajshahi, Bogra and Sirajganj, of the region with the main thrust of reducing the prevalence of fistula.

"We are giving main focus on identifying cases from the community, referral for diagnosis, timely management, motivation, counselling, follow up and comprehensive rehabilitation and reintegration to free the society from obstetric fistula by 2030," he added.

The people living in char and hard-to-reach areas and ethnic communities are identified as the most vulnerable to the disease.

So, utmost efforts are being given on bringing them under rehabilitation, Liton said.

Around 1,500 patients were rehabilitated after surgery and training on income-generating activities at the Lamb Hospital under the project being implemented with financial support of UNFPA Bangladesh.

"We are attending fistula patients, who are being victimized by unsafe caesarean operation, and working to give them back to normal life through surgery," said Dr Nazmunnahar Tara, assistant professor at the department of gynaecology and obstetrics of Rajshahi Medical College and Hospital.

She said ensuring safe surgery has become an urgent need to eradicate surgical fistula as it's one of the most serious and tragic childbirth injuries which leave women into chronic medical problems, depression, social isolation and deepen poverty.

Dr Tara also clarified obstetric fistula is one of the most devastating pregnancy-related morbidity, mostly affecting women from marginalized socio-economic backgrounds.

Aleya Begum, 60, a resident of Ratankandi village under Shahjadpur upazila in Sirajganj district, is now physically and mentally rehabilitated after eliminating her 25-year pains caused by obstetric fistula.

In 1996, she was diagnosed with a fistula during a caesarean delivery at a local hospital while giving birth to her eighth child.

Aleya, wife of Md Fatique, did not feel any urgency to urinate and has had constant urination through vagina. The couple went to different hospitals and clinics repeatedly but did not get any remedy from the chronic disease frustrating them badly.

At last, Aleya underwent fistula surgery at Lamb Hospital on February 28, 2021. She availed proper treatment facility in the hospital free of cost. Now, she is cured from fistula and gained a new life through surgery.

Ishrat Jahan, 38, a resident of Gulta village in Tarash upazila of the same district, had been suffering a lot due to chronic urination since removal of her uterine tumour at a clinic in Bogra’s Sherpur in early 2020.

She again sought medical attention but the clinic authority didn't pay heed to her request.

Jahan also got relief from her pain after availing a fistula operation in the Lamb hospital on December 2, 2020.

Giving a salient feature of their activities, Sabastian Tudu, district coordinator of the project, said all the line departments, including health, family planning, women affairs and social development, are being sensitized to detect the fistula patients for their proper rehabilitation.

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