VVF TREATMENT AT BUGANDO MEDICAL CENTRE
Girls and women suffering from VVF (vesico-vaginal
fistula) or RVF (recto-vaginal fistula) usually pass
urine, feces or both through the vagina. The
condition, which does not allow women to urinate or
defecate through the normal passages, is known as
incontinence. They have no control over the
situation and find themselves in an embarrassing
situation. Victims of the condition often are
abandoned by their husbands and friends and even by
their relatives. The consequences are a life of
shame and loneliness due to the smell.
There are several causes of the condition.
Obstructed labor during childbirth is a major cause
of VVF in Africa. In addition, lack of proper
obstetrical care by a qualified health provider and
teenage pregnancies can result in VVF. Frequently
the mother is unable to deliver the baby because of
the baby’s size.
VVF or RVF are not hopeless medical conditions. A
woman who suffers from this condition can be helped
by a doctor who specializes in treating patients
with this problem. The doctor will ascertain whether
the patient can be helped by surgery, catherization,
physiotherapy or a combined treatment.
Bugando Medical Centre is one of the hospitals that
treat VVF or RVF in Tanzania. It has specialists in
surgery and physiotherapy. More than 2,000 women
have successfully been treated at Bugando since
1997. The head of the program, Dr. Gumodoka,
commented that many of the sufferers of VVF are poor
and have no access to a hospital for delivery of
their baby. The treatment of VVF or RVF is free of
charge at Bugando Medical Centre through the general
help of donors such as AMREF, the Women’s Dignity
Project, The Ministry of Health and One by One.
Dr. B. Gumodoka, Dr. Ng’walida and Dr. Marietta
Mahendeka perform the surgeries at BMC. Twice each
year, two expert surgeons, Dr. Tom Raassen of AMREF
Kenya and Professor John Kelly of the United
Kingdom, come to train operating staff and they also
do the most difficult cases. Dr. Mahendeka published
and read a paper at the Geneva Foundation for
Medical Education and Research. Her paper revealed
many of the new and updated treatments for VVF or
RVF that have been developed at Bugando Medical
Centre. Her paper was warmly received and provided a
new model for the surgery.