By: Shahid Husain
Karachi: The National Health Forum (NHF), an organisation of Pakistani-origin doctors, is launching a fundraising campaign in the US for the benefit of the Koohi Goth Women’s Hospital (KGWH), located on the outskirts of Karachi.
The hospital provides free medical care to all females and specialises in the treatment of fistula — a disease caused by obstructed labour and inefficient emergency obstetric care. It also runs a training centre for young surgeons and nurses, with specialised fistula treatment being a focal part of the course.
Noted playwright and director Anwer Jafri told The News that a prominent artist, director, classical dancer and women rights’ activist, Sheema Kirmani, had offered great support to the cause and the fundraising campaign.
Kirmani and her 10-member theatrical group will start their tour of the US from August 23, performing ‘Main Jiyoun Gi Sar Uthaa Kay’ – a play penned by Jafri and Kirmani, based on actual accounts of fistula patients at the KGWH – in Washington DC, followed by Orlando, Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas and other cities.
The play deals with a grave, sensitive health and social issue, and is skilfully presented in a manner that is both, evocative and entertaining, with various interesting moments conjured by the fusion of dance, song and music. The evening includes dinner, followed by a dance performance by Kirmani, based on the poetry of Ameer Khusrau and Faiz Ahmed Faiz.
Efforts such as these are imperative and need support in Pakistan, where, at present, every 20 minutes, a woman dies and 20 to 30 women suffer short or long-term disabilities during childbirth.
Pakistan Medical Association leader Dr Shershah Syed, a prominent gynaecologist of the country, placed the annual figure for deaths during childbirth at 30,000, with around 375,000 women developing disabilities.
What is fistula?
In medicine, a fistula is an abnormal connection or passageway between two epithelium-lined organs or vessels that normally do not connect.
It is generally a disease condition, but a fistula may be surgically created for therapeutic reasons.
There are various types of fistulas: blind (with only one open end), complete (with both external and internal openings), and incomplete (a fistula with an external skin opening, which does not connect to any internal organ).
Treatment for fistulae varies depending on the cause and extent of the fistula, but often involves surgical intervention combined with antibiotic therapy.