Govt urges pregnant women to attend clinics early

ARUSHA: MINISTER for Community Development, Gender, Women and Special Groups Dr Dorothy Gwajima has urged pregnant women across the country to ensure that they start attending clinics within 12 weeks after conceiving in efforts to fight obstetric fistula disease.

Minister Gwajima said this recently, while speaking during the climax to mark the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, which was held nationally in Arusha Region.

Gwajima said that fistula disease was a great enemy to the life of mothers but insisted that the disease is treatable.

She said urgent intervention was needed to fight the disease. She urged pregnant women to make sure that they visit health centres within the first 12 weeks after getting pregnancy and ensure they attend all four antenatal care visits.

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Dr Gwajima said the government has invested a lot in the health sector by creating an enabling environment for mothers and children to be treated.

She said that the impact of fistula within society was serious, including stress, interfamily conflicts as well as death.

“Fistula is also an enemy against the family’s economy. This disease holds back the development of mothers. It brings poverty to the family,” she noted.

On his part, the representative from Americares Foundation Tanzania country office, Dr Jonas Kagwisage said that the foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of Health has already provided services to 75 patients.

He said the foundation works with the government in providing obstetric surgery services on fistula patients.

He said that for 13 years, the foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Bugando Zonal Hospital in Mwanza Region has been treating fistula patients free of charge.

Senior doctor at CBRT Hospital Dr Cyprian Ntomoka said that the hospital has been at the forefront in the fight against fistula.

He said CBRT has a special unit for fistula patients, where they are treated for free. He said patients are also financially supported and there is special training for doctors on how to care for fistula patients.

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