Turkey is planning to expand its cataract surgery project in Africa to fight fistula, Ministry of Health Undersecretary professor Eyüp Gümüş said.
Turkey has been leading a project that aims at conducting 1.5 million cataract surgeries in Africa in five years.
In an interview with Anadolu Agency (AA) yesterday, Gümüş said the Ministry of Health, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and a project named Fighting Avoidable Blindness have coordinately formed an initiative called "African Health."
The initiative will facilitate the project for helping 1.5 million people undergo the cataract surgery in Africa, including profiling cataract patients in the continent and hospitals where surgeries can be performed. It will also provide additional services in coordination with other countries and nongovernmental organizations.
There are now plans to expand the scope of the project to treat women with fistula in Africa.
"We can conduct surgeries other than the one for cataracts; over 2 million women in Africa are struggling to live with fistula. We may work toward providing them with the necessary surgeries," Gümüş added.
Obstetric fistula is caused by a long and obstructed labor without convenient access to medical service, which will result in having an opening between the birth canal and the bladder, or the rectum, which will cause inability to control urine or feces.
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