Southern Senegal 'suffering exceptionally high fistula rates'

A lack of medical assistance during pregnancy and childbirth is leading to exceptionally high incidence rates of obstetric fistula in the southern region of Senegal, it has been reported.

State reproductive health officials in Kolda, a town 425 km from the capital Dakar, says 58 per cent of deliveries take place in the home with no midwife, reports Inter Press Service.

Even where assisted births are concerned the situation is dire, according to Dr Charles Antoine Diatta, president of the Medical Commission of Kolda's regional hospital.

He told the news provider that a lack of adequate monitoring during pregnancy leads to nine out of every 20 women who give birth at the hospital developing fistula.

Societal factors also play a part, Dr Diatta noted. He added: "In our southern regions, girls are married off between the ages of 13 and 15.

"They are right in the middle of adolescence and from a morphological perspective, their pelvic girdles are not yet fully developed. This is one of the causes of fistula because at delivery, labour is prolonged."

IPS reports that there are nine doctors and four midwives in the Kolda region, which has around 850,000 inhabitants.

According to the World Health Organisation, there are seven doctors in Senegal for every 100,000 people and one midwife for every 400,000.ADNFCR-2094-ID-19245200-ADNFCR