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FOUNDATION URGES JOURNALISTS TO RAISE FISTULA AWARENESS

By Franco Mwachande Jnr

Freedom From Fistula Foundation (FFF), an organisation focusing on restoring hope and dignity for fistula patients in the country through physical repairs, has challenged local media to step up efforts in closing information gaps around fistula.

Freedom From Fistula Foundation Coordinator, Margaret Moyo made the call recently in Lilongwe during a day-long media orientation on fistula organised by Rotary club of Lilongwe.

According to Moyo, the foundation handles approximately 350 fistula cases annually. She believes that the media has a role to inform and educate communities on health issues affecting them.

She said: “There is a huge gap in knowledge among the public as well as health personnel. We need to do more in terms of awareness to reach more patients.”

Moyo however, said since it launched its fistula care services in Malawi in 2010, the foundation has treated more than 4 000 women.

Margret Moyo

Rotary Club of Lilongwe immediate past President, Vincent Sikelo said fistula hinders government efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), stressing that the media should concentrate on providing civic education to women to go to hospital.

“We believe that engaging media persons on issues of Fistula has the possibility of minimising the impact,” he said.

Vincent Sikelo

A fistula survivor, Sophilet Mbewe, from Traditional Authority (TA) Mkanda in Mchinji hailed the Foundation for the treatment accessed at Bwaila Fistula Centre, saying for the ten years she had suffered from fistula, her life was a nightmare.

Every year, on average, 600 women are treated for fistula.

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