By Lucy Osuizigbo
Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, says Federal Government is planning to build three more Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) hospitals in the country to make treatment accessible to the poor and vulnerable.
Adewole told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that poverty and lack of accessible healthcare were major causes of VVF 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.
“The rich ones are taken care of, no rich one will have it, even when they have it or there is a mistake, they will quickly repair it and they will be okay because they have the money, ” 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.
“We are picking these women. The Federal Government has set up three VVF hospitals in the country, but we are planning on building two or three more to clear off the backlogs.
“This will enable the poor and the vulnerable who could not afford the fistula treatment to beam with smiles, ” he said.
The Minister described VVF as an abnormal opening created between the urinary system and the vagina usually after a prolonged labour not attended by skilled personnel.
“These are women who for one reason or the other could not really deliver their babies through the normal birth canal.
“And because there is a misfit between the baby and the passage, the head of the baby or the other parts of the baby would compress the bladder against the bone and thereafter, the woman starts leaking urine,” Adewole said.
Recent records by a health awareness group, Community Partners for Development (CPD), revealed that Nigeria has the highest prevalence rate of women suffering from VVF in the world.
About 800,000 Nigerian women are living with the condition.