Women who have been affected by VVF

Kano Fistula Centre Successfully Treats 15,000 VVF Patients

The Laure Vesico Vaginal Fistula Centre, Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital, Kano, has revealed that it had successfully treated 15,000 fistula survivors in the state from 1987 till date.

The Coordinator of the centre, Dr. Amir Imam-Yola, made this known at the commemoration of the 2023 International Day to End Obstetric Fistula on at the facility.

The day was set designated in 2013 by the United Nations General Assembly with a view to create greater awareness globally about obstetric fistula and intensify actions toward eradicating the problem.

Every May 23, the global community celebrates the day, fixed by the UN to appreciate the struggles of women living with the condition.

The theme of this year’s celebration is “20 years on – progress but not enough! Act now to end Fistula by 2030.’’

Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) or Obstetric Fistula, also known as fistula, is a childbirth complication which leads to abnormal opening between the bladder and the vagina, causing faeces to continuously escape unabated or urinary incontinence.

The condition is among the most distressing complications of gynecologic and obstetric procedures, however, it can be repaired through surgery.

Some common causes of VVF are obstructed or prolonged labour, lack of prompt access to medical care, and poverty in some cases, as well as unsafe obstetric or gynecological surgery.

The condition can cause discomfort, and if left untreated, may cause serious bacterial infection, which may result to sepsis, a dangerous condition that can lead to low blood pressure, organ damage or even death.

The coordinator, Imam-Yola said “the centre provides activities such as fistula repair, advocacy, prevention of fistula activity, training, documentation and research opportunities.’’

He urged the state government to provide drugs and rehabilitation centre for fistula survivors.

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On his part, the Executive Director, Fistula Foundation Nigeria, Mr. Isa Musa, said obstetric fistula is a public health issue in Nigeria with the country having the largest burden of untreated women and girls.

He said, “Without treatment, fistula can severely impact a woman’s health and well-being.

“We have an estimated 332,000 women awaiting treatment, compounded by annual incidence of 13,000 new cases.’’

He called on the Kano State Government to make free fistula care services a priority, especially provision for training of additional indigenous doctors and nurses on surgical management of fistula.

He also urged the government to upgrade the Laure Fistula Centre with additional wards and adequate bed, noting that the centre initially had 48 beds but now left with only 10.

He further requested for the provision of equipment and other supplies to improve the physical, social and vocational capacities of women affected with fistula.

Musa commended Professor Idris Suleiman of AKTH, Dr. Amir Imam-Yola and the team for providing continuous fistula repair services at the centre.

The Kano State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development Dr. Zahra’u Muhammad-Umar, said the state government had done a lot in the provision of welfare packages to survivors of fistula and in terms of their feeding, shelter, clothing and empowerment.

Maryam Adam, who spoke on behalf of the survivors, said she had been struggling and managing VVF for 12 years and had undergone 10 surgeries.

She said “my husband divorced me and married another woman. I have been going from one hospital to another in search of cure. Before, I pass urine and feaces uncontrollably, but now I only urinate at minimal level. There is improvement.

“I was also trained as a tailor, which helped me to get medication. I have remarried for two years now despite my condition. I thank God and thank Fistula Foundation Nigeria.’’