From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
Twenty thousand new cases of Obstetric Fistula is said to recorded in Nigeria annually making Nigeria the largest country with the disorder. The wife of Kaduna State Governor, Hajiya Fatima Ramalan Yero disclosed this in a keynote address at the 2014 International Day to End obstetric Fistula held in Kaduna yesterday.
Mrs. Yero added that it is painful that out of the 800,000 people living with the disorders, 85% are in the Northern part of the country a condition that is not acceptable.
“A lot of us have not grasped the seriousness of this problem but I do expect that, the doctors would give us the technical overviews and the scale of the problem.
“This gathering is to give a voice to the thousands of voiceless women, a gathering to draw attention to an often neglected social issue. It is unacceptable that over 500,000 of our mothers, sisters and daughters live with this debilitating condition in Nigeria and 20,000 more develop in every single year,” Mrs. Yero said.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) representative in Nigeria, Ms. Ratidzai Ndhlovu said Obstetric Fistula thrives among the poor women and girls, the uneducated and those who have limited access to health services which include maternal and family planning.
Ms. Ndhlovu added that Obstetric Fistula is in two types: Vesico Vaginal Fistula which causes abnormal opening between vagina and the urinary bladder, thus leading to uncontrollable urine; while Recto Vaginal Fistula (RVF) is an abnormal opening between the vagina and the rectum which causes leaking of faeces. These disorders maybe as a result of prolong childbirth labour.
In his own speech, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu said United Nations General Assembly has set aside 23rd May of each year for commemorating the International Day to end obstetric fistula, through significantly raising awareness and intensifying actions towards ending obstetric fistula.
The Minister disclosed that the treatment of obstetric fistula is a priority for the Federal Government as part of its commitment to improve the maternal reproductive health indices.