The Fistula Day, which has been celebrated for the 6th time in Ethiopia and 7th at the global level, was celebrated at Jimma University for the second consecutive time. The national celebration of the day was organized by Jimma University with the motto “Fistula is a Human Rights Violation-End it Now” in collaboration with various governmental and nongovernmental organizations.
The celebration aimed at sharing information on the existing global trend of the disease, bringing various stakeholders in one roof to discuss about the status of preventing its occurrence in Ethiopia, management of patients, the challenges faced in dealing with it and the way forward. The occasion has provided a wonderful opportunity to initiate discussions on the matter and share knowledge and experience among renowned professionals in the field, as was attended by representatives from various institutions like; Federal Ministry of Health, United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA), health professionals from Hamline Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa and JU, participants Arsi University, Gondar University, from Health Bureaus of various regional governments.
Dr. Jemal Abafita, President of JU and guest of honour of the event, in his welcoming speech stated that, Fistula has been eliminated from the wealthier countries of the world while it is still a life threatening health problem in developing countries like Ethiopia causing deep rooted health, socio-Economic and cultural challenges to many young ladies, sisters and mothers. He further highlighted that majority of the women with Fistula are from the economically underprivileged group who have less access and capacity to medical services. As a result, they couldn’t obtain medical treatment which goes against their naturally provided human rights to live an healthy life and devoid them of their human dignity due to their marginalization and mistreatment by the society surrounds them. Therefore, according to him, we all need to join hands to properly treat those who are facing the challenge and prevent the occurrence of new cases in order to save lives and relieve woman’s life from chronic misery.
It was also expressed during the event that the Jimma University Medical Centre has been running Fistula Treatment Centre for the last Nine years and providing all the necessary supports for affected women in Jimma and surrounding areas. The Medical Centre will continue to provide the services in a better form and manner to give access to the needy population with better quality.
Various activities took place during the occasion where the national strategy to end Fistula was presented by representatives from the Federal Ministry of Health and ways and Mechanisms of integrating former Fistula Patients in to the society was highlighted by Dr. Ketsela Dessalegn. Moreover, scientific papers were presented by Dr. Demissew Amenu and role plays were performed by the JU Theatre and Art School students in order to raise wariness of participants and to set the agenda for the panel discussion held among participants at the event. Lastly, the participants visited the Fistula Ward at the Jimma University Medical Center and went out for a one hour long walk from the main gate of the university to the city center marking the celebration of the day at Jimma.