Obstetric Fistula: UNFPA Sets 2030 Deadline To End Scourge

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Immediate past Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole

By; BENEDICT SUNDAY, Kaduna

The United Nation’s population Fund (UNFPA) has said ending obstetric fistula is it’s topmost priority and key step to achieving the world’s sustainable development goals by 2030

Programmes coordinator and head of UNFPA office in Northern Nigeria, Mrs Mariama Darboe stated this in Kaduna on Saturday during an event marking international day to end Obstetric Fistula at Gambo Sawaba General Hospital, VVF Centre,Kofar Gaya in Zaria, Kaduna State,. Northwest Nigeria

The programme’s coordinator explained that UNFPA remains committed to eliminating obstetric Fistula in all countries of the world with greater focus to African region as panacea to meeting the commitment of the international conference on population and development

According to her, strong health systems and more efforts were key to addressing the underlying issues that perpetuate it rise including poverty, gender inequality, early marriage and childbirth as well as lack of education

Mariama Darboe said obstetric fistula is a condition of the poorest and the marginalised women and girls who lack access to the timely and quality maternal healthcare that they deserve

She said fistula “a hole between the vagina and rectum or bladder that causes women to leak urine or faeces is one of the most serious tragic childbirth injuries ”

“As we talk about ending polio, HIV And AIDS, female genital mutilation amongst other forms of suffering. so we must commit to stepping up our efforts to end fistula, this means heeding the call of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development to leave no one behind. especially those most neglected. invisible and powerless, including the women and girls living with fistula”

The Northern Nigeria programmes coordinator pointed out that the global campaign to End Fistula, launched in 2003 by UNFPA and partners, had made significant progress towards eliminating fistula and supporting it’s survivors through prevention. treatment, social re integration and advocacy

Mariama said UNFPA had supported over 100 000 fistula repair surgeries for women and girls in need and campaign partners have enabled many more to receive treatments in more than 55 countries across Africa, Asia, the Arab region and Latin America

“Some women are operated successfully while others may have to live with the condition for the rest of their lives”

“Left untreated, fistula often leads to social isolation, frequent infections, kedney disease, painful sores and infertility”

“Yet, far more remains to be done. we cannot give up until every woman and girl has the preventive care she needs. we cannot give up until every single woman and girl living with fistula has been treated,we cannot give up until every fistula survivor receives the social reintegration and support services she needs to rebuild her life, reclaim her dignity. and restore her hope and dreams for the future “she concluded

In her remarks. wife of the Kaduna State Governor, Mrs Aisha Ummi Ahmed el-Rufai said to eliminate the deadly scourge was a duty for all

She called on all and sundry within the society to intensify awareness on the menace, show love and care to the victims and eschew discriminating against those with Fistula

Mrs Ummi el-Rufai advised parents to give proper care to their female children by ensuring adequate antenatal care is given to them during pregnancy to avoid prolonged obstructed labour during child’s birth

In his welcome address, the Commissioner of Health in the state, Mr Paul Dogo who was represented by the director public health, Dr Ado Zakari said the VVF Centre which was established years ago in Zaria had helped in the treatment of many fistula patients including repair surgeries via the support of campaign partners across the world

He called for more partners to enable the centre have a conducive atmosphere for the treatmentof fistula patients

Some of the patients undergoing treatments including surgeries at the centre. Mrs Furera Abdul Salam and Hauwa Usman registered their appreciation to the centre and called on government and other relevant stakeholders to provide the Government and other relevant stakeholders to provide them with support for them to start a new life .

Ms Furera who is 34 and a mother of seven said. “It all started during childbirth in hospital when I had an obstructed prolonged labour, since I have been experiencing this problem.

“We faced a lot of discrimination from the society because of this ailment,but to God be the glory. I am expecting my third operation and believing God that I would be successful.”

The called  on pregnant women to always go for periodic checks at the hospitals and people should stop discriminating against victims of VVF

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