The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in collaboration with Kaduna state Ministry of Health and Fifth Chukker Polo and Country Club, will organise a one-day conference on the need to urgently end Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) in the state.
Programme Coordinator/Head of Office of the Kaduna-based UNFPA Decentralized Office for Northern Nigeria, Ms Mariama Darboe, said in a statement on Sunday that a pre-conference event would start on December 18 with a road walk within Kaduna metropolis.
Mariama further said the main event would hold at Fifth Chukker Polo and Country Club, Mararraban Jos, on December 19, where Governor Nasir el-Rufai is expected to launch the conference along with his wife, Hajiya Ummi el-Rufai, who will be officially declared the Fistula Ambassador in Kaduna state.
The UNFPA Coordinator pointed out that the conference ‘’aims at raising awareness about the tragic childbirth injuries that incapacitates thousands of mainly poor, illiterate young adolescents who live in rural areas with poor access to quality maternal health care. The conference will also serve as a platform to raise funds in order to strengthen health care facilities, to clear the backlog of cases and at least reduce new ones from occurring.’’
The Coordinator, who described the statistics as worrisome and unacceptable, revealed that “it is estimated that between 400,000 and 800,000 women live with VVF in Nigeria. In addition, there are about 12,000 to 20,000 new cases each year.”
Ms Darboe described Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) as “a condition that allows for the continuous and involuntary discharge of urine and faeces. Depending on the severity of the case, some women are operated successfully while others may have to live with the condition for the rest of their lives. Left untreated, obstetric fistula often leads to social isolation, frequent infections, kidney failures, painful sores and infertility”.
According to the UNFPA Coordinator, obstetric fistula is preventable and can largely be avoided by delaying pregnancy, ensuring skilled birth attendants during child delivery and providing timely access to obstetric care for all women who develop complications during child birth.
“Medical experts, sociologists and traditional as well as religious leaders, including top government officials, captains of industries and prominent business men and women are expected to attend the conference,” she added.