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40% rural women in Zim infected with female genital schistosomiasis

by Staff Reporter
05 Nov 2014 at 07:09hrs | Views

Over 40 percent of rural women in Zimbabwe are infected with the female genital schistosomiasis, a new form of bilharzia affecting women only, statistics from the first community-based report on the effect of genital schistosoma-haenatobium infection on female fertility have revealed.

The research was conducted by Professor Eyrun Kjetland, honorary senior lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa.

Female genital schistosomiasis is a form of bilharzia that affects female genitals and, according to the research, it has been associated with cancer in women, infertility and ectopic pregnancies. It has also been associated with increased risk of acquiring HIV in women and is usually confused with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) due to similarity of symptoms.

Zimbabwe is incapacitated to deal with female genital bilharzia and most doctors, nurses and other health practitioners in the country fail to diagnose and recognise the disease due to lack of knowledge and limited resources.

According to the research, the disease was discovered in the 1980s and Zimbabwe is still to conduct awareness campaigns and conscientise health practitioners.

World Health Organisation (WHO), African doctors and the world's leading researchers had a conference on Pocket Atlas Workshop for female genital bilharzia last month at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban to compile a booklet that will assist medical practitioners to recognise and diagnose the disease. The Pocket Atlas was released last month and will guide medical practitioners in recognising and diagnosing female genital bilharzia.

Government consultant obstetrician and gynecologist, Dr Velda Mushangwe, based at Gweru Provincial Hospital, was part of the doctors drawn from five Southern Africa countries to map the way forward to raise awareness on female genital bilharzia.

Source - Herald