Essential Relief International (ERI) Foundation has called on government and philanthropists to support its Adopt, Repair, Restore, Empower project (ARRE) to prevent and eliminate obstetric fistula in Ghana.

Obstetric Fistula is disease which disrupts the flow of blood to the soft tissue between the vagina and the urinary tract or between the vagina and the rectum by compression of the fetal head during child birth.

This mostly occurs due to prolonged obstructed labour during child birth.

And its effects include leaking of urine and or faeces as a result of the compression which leaves a permanent anomalous opening in the perineum.

Commemorating International Day to end obstetric fistula, the Executive Director of ERI, Evelyn Eduful indicated that women with the condition are often stigmatise due to the effects of the disease.

“Women who develop obstetric fistula condition lose their confidence and self esteem because of the unpleasant body odor, chronic skin diseases, blisters and sores they have to endure.

“Worse of all is the stigmatization and isolation in society, making them depressed and shy to come out to get help and treatment. Most relatives and husbands of these women believe they are being punished for having extra marital affairs. These women are tagged as cursed and ungodly and therefore outcasts in society.”

Therefore, Ms Eduful noted that the ARRE project seeks to adopt women suffering from obstetric fistula, repair the condition through surgery, restore their dignity and empower them economically.

She was of the view that victimization of women with the obstetric  condition derails efforts of other agencies to empower women in the society.

She also urged government not to lose sight of the prevalence of the condition in the country because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to her, obstetric fistula is equally important as Covid-19 and must be addressed likewise.

“Covid-19 has not stopped women from going into labour, rather this pandemic has worsened the case of women in these obstetric fistula prevalent areas as hospital visits decrease for fear of contracting the virus.”