The Fistula Day, which has been celebrated for the 5th time in Ethiopia and 6th at the global level, was celebrated at Jimma University. The national celebration of the day was organized by Jimma University with the motto “Leaving no one behind: Let us commit to ending Fistula 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.
As studies presented on the occasion indicated, though, pregnancy and childbirth should have been one of the happiest of occasions in woman’s life, the occurrence of obstetrics Fistula caused by prolonged, obstructed labour without prompt medical attention is denying millions of girls and women of their health, hope and dignity. The same has been vividly underlined by Professor Fikre Lemessa, President of JU and guest of honour of the event which 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 emphasized that 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. He has also highlighted that the Jimma University Medical Centre has been running Fistula Treatment Centre for the last Eight years and providing all the necessary supports for affected women in Jimma and surrounding areas. The Medical Centre, according to him will continue to provide the services in a better form and manner and the university’s management will extend all the necessary support for the improvement of the services.
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. Fikade, Medical Director of the Hamline Fistula Hospital. Moreover, scientific papers were presented and role plays were performed by way of raising wariness of participants and to set the agenda for the panel discussion held among participants at the event. Lastly, all the participants visited the Fistula Ward at the Jimma University Specialised Hospital and heard testimonies from Fistula recovering patients and went out for a one hour long walk from the main gate of the university to the city centre marking the celebration of the day at Jimma.