By Ahmed Rufa’i, Dutse

The international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has called on governments in Nigeria and Individuals on the need for preventive measures against Vesicovaginal Fistula (VVF) cases among women especially in the rural areas.

MSF Vesicovaginal Fistula Jahun center Field Coordinator, Mr. Jean Clément Ishimwe made the call in his speech delivered at the discharging and empowerment of 235 VVF patients ceremony at the Jahun general hospital, in Jahun local government area of JIgawa state.

Ishimwe appealed to all health stakeholders to help affected women reintegrate into their communities and prevent the devastating injuries from occurring by expanding access to quality maternal care.

According to him presently 100 women that suffered from obstetric fistula who successfully completed their surgical treatment are currently preparing to leave the MSF’s program and return home after survival ceremony

Ishimwe explained that “from January to November 2022, 235 women suffering from fistula were successfully treated with surgical intervention”.

According to the field officer, “282 women had their fistula repaired in 2021. During the same period, MSF team in Jahun provided 33,917 women with antenatal care, assisted in 12,519 deliveries and another 1,626 deliveries through caesarean session.
“It is estimated that 2 million women and girls live with obstetric fistula worldwide, most always due to complications which arose during childbirth”.

The Field Officer maintained that “the ceremony is also an opportunity to promote the socioeconomic integration of the women who have often been pushed aside.
“We give them spaghetti-making machines and flour to enable them start a small business at home as a self-reliance activity”.

He noted that around 50 women who successfully completed the fistula treatment will start a rehabilitation and skill acquisition training in January 2023, a programme that is supported by the Fistula Foundation and the State Ministry of Women Affairs”.Since 2008.

He added that “when MSF started its activities in Jahun, the organisation had been providing surgical repairs, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and psychosocial support to women suffering from fistula.
“Obstetric fistulas are generally caused during childbirth by prolonged, obstructed labor”.

“That’s why MSF is also supporting quality obstetric and maternal care in Jahun in order to contribute to preventing fistula and other complications from happening”.

Mr Ishimwe emphasized that the condition often leads to shame, isolation and stigma, with husbands, families and communities excluding the women who suffer from it.

“Most of these women usually live in abject poverty, shunned, or blamed by society which lead them to fall deeper into poverty and further despair. Many of the women who develop fistula lose their baby to stillbirth, which adds to their depression, pain, and suffering”.

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