The National Obstectric Fistula Centre in Katsina in North Western Nigeria, said it treated over 5,000 women suffering from Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) in 2016.
Dr Aliyu El-Ladan, the Medical Director of the Centre who disclosed this in Katsina however said the figure includes those from other African countries.
Dr Ladan said the hospital treats at “least four female patients every day mostly from the seven states in the North West and we have also been receiving female patients from Niger and Benin Republics as well as Ivory Coast.”
El-Ladan called on husbands of expectant mothers to always allow their wives attend antenatal clinics to avoid complications during delivery.
According to him, women who spend one to seven hours in labour are liable to be VVF patients.
The Katsina VVF centre was established in 1932 by Sudan Interior Mission and was taken over by the old Kaduna State Government, and later Federal Government in 2013.
Similarly, the Kebbi Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) center also said it cured 175 patients in 2016.
Dr. Abubakar Dakingari, the Medical Director of the centre said the center offered treatment freely to patients from within and outside the country, stressing that “we have patients from Benin and Niger Republics, as well as some states in the country.
NIGERIA response to VVF
Nigeria’s minister of health Professor Isaac Adewole says Nigeria will build three additional VVF centres, to speed up the care of the nearly 800,000 women living with the condition in the country.
He said VVF mostly affected the poor, younger women and many of them abandoned by their husbands.
“There are thousands of Nigerian women with VVF, and it is only poor people that will have it. The rich won’t have it because it is an indication of lack of care during delivery. About 85.7 per cent of the poor have no health coverage and no one to look after them”, he said.
Adewole said Federal Government, through its Rapid Results Initiative launched in October, would be performing 10,150 free VVF surgeries in partnership with International Society of Obstetric Fistula Surgeons.
He said it was already taking place concurrently in Abuja, Ibadan, Katsina, Minna and Abakaliki.
According to the minister, Nigeria’s high VVF rate is fuelled by child marriages and harmful traditional practices.
Access to and utilisation of health care is also poor as percentage of births delivered in health facility is 35.8% according to Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) report, 2013; over 64% of births take place at home and other places due to several factors including; inability to afford health services, distance to health facility and attitude of health workers among others.