By Asmau Ahmad with agency report
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has supported free fistula repair surgeries for 104 patients at the Vesico Vaginal Fistula Centre at Gambo Sawaba General Hospital, Zaria, Kaduna State.
Elvis Evborein, the Reproductive Health Analyst at UNFPA Kaduna, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna on Sunday.
Mr Evborein said the free surgeries were conducted between January and October.
VVF, commonly known as obstetric fistula, is an abnormal opening between the bladder and the vagina that results in continuous and unremitting urinary incontinence.
Common causes of VVF are obstructed labour, early marriage, poverty, and women’s limited access to and control of family resources.
However, the condition can be repaired through surgery, and patients can return to normal lives.
The reproductive health analyst, therefore, said UNFPA provided medical consumables for the repairs to be possible, while the state government played its part in providing free services.
Describing the intervention as one of UNFPA’s priority areas in the state, Mr Evborein said the curative intervention was being matched with preventive services like community campaigns to end fistula.
He said Civil Society Organisations were being supported to conduct campaigns in communities and engage religious and community leaders to mobilise community members to end the scourge.
“They are talking to men and women to deal with the issue of child marriage as one of the predisposing factors for fistula.
“We are also encouraging girl-child education to ensure that youths go as far as possible in their educational pursuit, which in the long run will prevent early marriage.”
He pledged UNFPA’s continued support to the centre while noting the prevailing challenge of manpower, especially surgeons.
He added that a Norwegian government health project would inject part of its funds into the centre, adding that there are gaps to be filled.
He added that UNFPA upgraded the learning centre of repaired patients at the facility with chairs, tables, and instructional materials.
“After the repair, we ensure that the women go through rehabilitation to enable them to reintegrate into society.
“Part of the rehabilitation programme is for the survivors to learn simple numeracy and literacy and other income-generating skills,” he said.