By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The Kaduna State Ministry of Health in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has rehabilitated and empowered 100 Vesico-Vaginal Fistula (VVF) patients.
- Speaking at the graduation ceremony on Friday held at Gambo Sawaba General Hospital, Zaria, the Kaduna State, Governor’s wife, Hajiya A’isha El-rufa’i applauded the support being provided by UNFPA towards rehabilitating obstetric fistula patients.
She described the continued occurrence of obstetric fistula as a human rights tragedy, reflecting the marginalisation of those affected.
“Their isolation means they often go unnoticed by policy makers, and as a result, little action is taken to address or prevent their condition.”
She observed that the rehabilitation and graduation of 100 survivors was with a view to reintegrating them back to their families with newly acquired skills and tools for economic empowerment.
According to her the gesture is a testimony to the consistent commitment of the state government toward ensuring improved health outcomes.
“Obstetric fistula is one of the most serious and tragic injuries that can occur during child birth.
“It is a hole between the birth canal and the bladder or rectum caused by prolonged, obstructed labour without timely access to emergency obstetric care notably a caesarean section.
“It leaves women leaking urine, faeces or both and over time, it leads to chronic medical problems,” she said.
In his speech, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Paul Dogo stressed the need for community and village leaders, clerics, health workers and the media to create more awareness on the causes and how to prevent VVF.
Dogo, who was represented by a Director in the ministry, Alhaji Lawal Abubakar, described VVF as a serious condition that sadly crippled the future of young prospective women in Nigeria with Northern States bearing the most burdens.
“Many girls between the ages of 11 and 15 years who become mothers mostly because they were married-out early and suffer some form of deprivation which denies them access to emergency obstetric care, are often victims of VVF.”
He said estimates in Nigeria reveals that between 400, 000 to 800,000 women were living with the scourge of VVF with about 20,000 new cases being recorded annually.
The 100 rehabilitated women were provided with tools and machines to start-off businesses to become self-reliant after undergoing series of training during their stay in the hospital.