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ABUJA: ECOWAS supports 8 countries in Fistula care


By: Alex Adi

Ghana is one of eight countries to receive a sum of  USD 1,960,000 to improve care for women and girls suffering from obstetric fistula. The member countries received cheques for 245 thousand US dollars each from the ECOWAS Commission through the ECOWAS Gender Development center at the 91st Ordinary session of Council of Ministers in Abuja, Nigeria.

Millions of women, especially in the developing world, develop an obstetric fistula. From statistics, every year; between fifty and one hundred thousand women develop new obstetric fistulas.

Health analysts say Obstetric fistula is associated with devastating lifelong morbidity with severe medical, social, psychological and economic consequences. If left untreated, obstetric fistula can cause chronic incontinence which leads to a range of other physical ailments including frequent infections, kidney disease, painful sores and infertility.

ECOWAS, through the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre, EGDC, listed the fight against obstetric fistula as a priority area of intervention in connection with SDG 3 and SDG 5 which relate respectively to women’s health and gender equality.

A large-scale program “Medical and financial support for women and girls suffering from obstetric fistula in ECOWAS member States” has since been rolled out in 14 countries.

The main objective of the Medical and Financial Support Program for the Care of Victims of Obstetric Fistula in ECOWAS Member States is to improve access to health and socioeconomic care for girls and women suffering from the disease, to enable them to lead a productive and useful life and to support the development of the ECOWAS region.

The programme has three components, namely prevention through awareness creation and information; medical care through reconstructive surgery; and socio-economic reintegration of rehabilitated women under the famous 3R triptych which is Repair, Reinstate and Restore.

The Member States benefiting from the 2023 special allocation are Ghana, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo.

The countries through their representatives received a cheque each for 245 thousand US dollars which totals One million – 960 thousand US dollars.

The funds will go to supporting national programs in the various beneficiary countries.


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