What issue(s) are you trying to solve?
Despite continued efforts to support fistula treatment in Kenya, there is still evidence of new cases and post-repair challenges. Studies show 23% fistula recurrence & 3000 new cases annually. The situation could lead to a never-ending vicious circle of fistula care and management, increased number of dis-empowered and marginalized women who have lost hope in life, and unproductive community.
Most fistula intervening organizations in Kenya do not actively involve the survivors in their project design and implementation, WADADIA through the voices of hope initiative empowers treated fistula survivors to engage with the policymakers and advocate for their sexual reproductive health and rights. It is hoped that this project will contribute towards fistula eradication through promoting quality maternal health services and fistula post-treatment support hence reducing new fistula cases as well as manage the post-repair complications.
What is your approach in changing this undesired situation?
The goal of the project is to mitigate the impact of the obstetric fistula & contribute towards its eradication by empowering survivors to advocate for their SRHR. When it comes to fistula there is no better ambassador than a woman who has been successfully treated. That’s why we:
- We recruit & train groups of treated survivors in the community to identify & recruit other survivors to develop a network of change-makers.
- Create platforms to engage & educate decision-makers who do not understand fistula or how women suffer because of it.
- Incorporate survivor’s voices in intervention strategies. When survivors are involved at all levels, intervention strategies become effective, Messaging is relevant, the treatment feels more accessible & service delivery becomes more targeted. We do this by actively involving them in community outreaches & other opportunities to use their voices.
- Find & treat more women. Our efforts will result in more women becoming fistula survivors, not fistula sufferers.
What is the potential impact of your initiative?
Contribute towards an inclusive & empowered society free from the debilitating effects of fistula through; the Increased level of public awareness & reduction of stigma & misconceptions associated with female genital fistula. There will also be reduced incidences of gender-based violence among survivors
Access to improved maternal health services as a result of increased budget allocations from County treasury & enhanced sensitization on importance & availability of the services.
Increase uptake of SRH services including family planning & elective cesarean section among survivors & other women of reproductive age. Reduce the number of new/recurring fistula cases while increasing access to care and treatment. This will be as a result of enhanced community mobilization by the advocates which will increase access to treatment as well as comprehensive post-treatment support.
Development of Reproductive health policies that take care of fistula survivors’ needs through their participation.