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Miss Ghana 2007 becomes Fistula ambassador 10/16/2007
Accra, Oct. 11, GNA - The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Government of Ghana (GoG) on Thursday jointly conferred on Ms Frances Judith Takyi-Mensah, Miss Ghana 2007 an ambassador of Obstetrics Fistula Project in the country.

Obstetrics fistula is a hole in the birth canal caused by prolonged labour without prompt medical intervention; usually end up in a Caesarean section.

Women are left with chronic incontinence and in most cases stillborn babies.

There is also the leaking of urine or faeces or both which, when not treated could lead to chronic medical problems including ulcerations, kidney disease, and nerve damage in the legs. At least two million women in Africa, Asia and the Arab region are living with the condition, and about 50,000 to 100,000 new cases develop each year.

Conferment of the ambassadorial role on the beauty queen stemmed from her interest in helping to control maternal mortality in the country. Mr Makane Kane, UNFPA Representative said UNFPA''s special focus for the year was to make motherhood and delivery safer as part of the Millennium Development Goals.

He recounted that smell of leaking urine or faeces of women suffering obstetrics fistula noting that, that drove away loved ones away and that was quite humiliating.

"Why then allow our mothers suffer if a simple surgery can normally repair the injury," he asked.

Mr Kane said: "We are happy that Ms Ghana 2007 also known as Ms Ghana @ 50 has chosen no other area to work on but Obstetrics Fistula as this would bring smiles on the faces of women and girls affected". "We hope that your role would also help champion the cause of prevention, treatment and re-integration of the affected in the Ghanaian society," he added.

Mr Kane said UNFPA would continue to support countries to ensure that every pregnancy and birth became safe; every young person also became free of HIV/AIDS and every girl and woman was treated with dignity and respect.

Mr Yaw Okyere-Nyarko, Chief Economic Officer, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning said it was not good to see women suffer and be rejected as result of obstetrics fistula and called for more interventions for women in the rural areas. He appealed to the media to project the work of the beauty queen to create more awareness on obstetrics fistula. Ms Takyi-Mensah who is also Ghana''s 50th anniversary queen said she was touched by a story she came across on the Internet on obstetrics fistula.

"Motherhood had not been a joke as without our mothers none of us here would be present," she remarked. With her charming smiles, the beauty queen pledged to be an advocate and an icon of hope to women affected by obstetrics fistula. Ms Takyi-Mensah received a handicraft depicting a woman carrying two babies and two educational DVD on obstetrics fistula. In 2003, UNFPA spearheaded the Global Campaign to end fistula, prevent it and restore the health and dignity of those living with its consequences.

UNFPA Ghana in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service took up this effort in 2005. 11 Oct. 07


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