G. W. Harley Hospital to Conduct Free Fistula Surgeries

SANNIQUELLIE, Nimba – Several women are expected to benefit from free fistula surgery at the G. W. Harley Hospital in Sanniquellie beginning on November 12.

The exercise is expected to run for eight days and will be conducted by a Ministry of Health team of surgeons with specialized knowledge of fistula.

A fistula is an abnormal connection between two hollow spaces such as blood vessels, intestines, or other hollow organs. Where it pertains to childbirth, a fistula is a hole between the vagina and the rectum or bladder that may be caused by prolonged obstructed labor. It can leave a woman unable to properly control any passage of urine or feces, resulting in her being ostracized from her community.

Dr. Collins Bowah, who heads the Nimba County Health Team, told reporters in Sanniquellie that the exercise is expected to benefit a little over 30 people in the County. Collins projected that at least 1,200 women are living with this condition in Liberia.

“Most of our sisters and mothers have this condition, and their husbands try to neglect them; their families also neglect them, and they have to go in the villages to hide from people,” Bowah said. “So, the Nimba County Health Team, in collaboration with doctors from Monrovia, will be here from the 12th to the 19th of this month to do a free fistula repair for all of those patients.”

Bowah encouraged all patients to call the County Health Team to take advantage of the free surgery.

“If you are not able to transport yourself, let us know,” he said. “We can even send you a vehicle to get to you so that you can come to Sanniquellie.”

All persons with this condition are expected to be in Sanniquellie no later than Friday, November 10, 2017, to have their names registered for the surgery.

Additionally, beneficiaries are expected to further benefit from vocational skills training in Bong after the successful surgery in Sanniquellie.

“After the surgery, once you [have] recovered, you will go to Gbarnga, where we [are] going to train you to have different, different trades,” the doctor said. “You will get [a] trade in tailoring, trade in soap making, trade in bread making, in hairdressing…”

Following the training, beneficiaries are expected to receive resettlement benefits that will enable them to start up a new life and get reintegrated into the society.

Presently, patients diagnosed with fistula at the G. W. Harley Hospital are referred to the Phebe Hospital in Suakoko, Bong.

Featured photo by Arrington Ballah

Arrington Ballah

A resident of Ganta, Nimba County, Arrington has a background working with credit unions and other organizations dedicated to rural finance.

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