Still on vesico vaginal fistula disease

Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) is a health issue that has to do with the uncontrolled discharge of urine due to an abnormal opening between a woman’s unitary tract and genitals. Medical professionals identify that most of the cases are caused by early marriage and prolonged obstructed labour.

According to Global Health, Nigeria has a record of about 400,000 to 800,000 women living with VVF and there are about 20,000 new cases occurring annually.

A great number of women and girls in particularly Northeastern Nigeria are suffering from Vesico Vaginal Fistula.
According to research carried out by AD Geidam and E. Barka to determine the outcome of VVF repair in Borno state, have discovered that 385 patients had a surgical repair for VVF in the period of 10 years. We mustn’t forget that these 385 patients are those who are bold enough to seek medical help. Fnfortunately, many women and girls suffering from VVF, especially in Northern Nigeri failed to report to authorities concerned.

Also, the recent research conducted in some parts of Yobe state shows that most of the VVF patients are between the ages of 15-24. And most women and girls with VVF have lost their dignity, many got divorced, suffered from stigma and many have been isolated from associating with their family members and friends due to their conditions.

One woman residing in Maiduguri shared her experience with me about this issue, that she is also a victim of VVF for 12 years, immediately after she gives birth to her first son at the tender age of 14.

According to the woman interviewed, her husband’s mother forced him to divorce her after they tried several traditional medications that yielded no result. Victims of this unfortunate disease suffer a lot especially from the treatments given to them by their close associates. VVF victims hardly maintain personal hygiene because of their condition.

The woman who shared her experience was among the fortunate that took part in the programme organised by the Korean international Corporation agency, a fistula repair programme held in 2018. The programme was coordinated by the United Nations Population Fund in collaboration with the Borno State Ministry of Health.

Consequently, the programme succeeded in bringing ease and succour to the victims of the disease and helped create awareness on the root causes of the disease and precautionary measures to be taken when contracted.

Above all, the government in collaboration with traditional and religious leaders should act fast in sanitising people on the negative impact of this disease, and precautionary measures that need to be taken in preventing oneself from the disease. Also, proper medical care and attention should be given to the victims in every nook and cranny of Borno state in tackling the disease.

Patience Musa Malgwi,
Department of Mass Communication, University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri Borno state

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