Every year, EngenderHealth organizes a national “Fistula Day” in Guinea to raise awareness of fistula among communities and key decision makers. Held this year on May 21, it marked the official launch of Fistula Care activities at a fourth site in Guinea, Labé Regional Hospital, the main hospital of the country’s central mountain region.
The opening ceremony, held at the amphitheater of the local training center, was well-attended by dignitaries from across the country, including the Governor and the Mayor of Labé, the Mayor of Kissidougou, officials from the Ministries of Health, Social Affairs, and Decentralization, and representatives of the U.S. Ambassador to Guinea and the Mission Director of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which supports Fistula Care. The Peace Corps, United Nations Population Fund, World Health Organization, OIC International, civil society organizations, the private sector, and the media were also represented.
To begin the proceedings, Labé Mayor El Hadj Amadou Thiam presented EngenderHealth with a key to the city. Accepting on behalf of the organization, the Vice President for Programs, Dr. Isaiah Ndong, later reflected that “this facility offers hope and the chance for a new life to women living with fistula throughout the Labé region.”
The Governor of Labé, the representative from USAID, and Ministry staff voiced their appreciation for the Fistula Care project. “One characteristic of the project is its big-picture consideration of all of fistula’s causes and its relevant strategy for sustainability, engaging technical departments from different partner Ministries and the community beneficiaries themselves,” said Dr. Cherif Sylla, General Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene.
A local youth group led a chant of the slogan “let’s fight together against fistula,” adding a spirited energy to the event. And three fistula survivors whose lives have been transformed by surgical repair shared emotional testimonies, including one who brought her infant, whom she gave birth to following a successful fistula repair.
Hundreds of peer educators invited the crowd to participate in a vibrant procession to the Labé Regional Hospital, where the General Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Dr. Ndong jointly cut the ribbon to celebrate the start of fistula repair services.
Fistula repairs at Labé began in early June. The hospital builds on the successful model Fistula Care developed at other sites in Guinea: Kissidougou District Hospital, Ignace Deen University Teaching Hospital, and Jean Paul II Hospital in Conakry. The Fistula Care project supports surgical repair, prevention, and reintegration into society for repaired women and creates partnerships between health facilities, communities, and local governments. Read more about Fistula Care’s activities in Guinea. To watch a video of the event on YouTube, please click here.