Jutha Gupah, Maiduguri September 25, 2019.
The Evangel Surgical; has treated 227 vaginal viscous fistula (VVF) patients in the last four months in Gombe, the state capital. The Jos-based medical outreach successfully performed the VVF surgeries, under the sponsorship of Christophel Blinded Mission (CBM). Project Director of Evangel Centre, Dr. Sunday Lengmang disclosed this Tuesday, while briefing journalists on successful performance of surgeries on over 200 girls and women. He urged the state government to initiate an action plan strengthen sexual and reproductive policy to stem spread of VVF in communities.
“It is very clear that there are still serious problems regarding sexual and reproductive health, especially obstetric fistula in the state,” he warned. According to him, during the surgical outreach, several women suffering from obstetric fistula had labored for about three days before delivering or arriving at hospitals. On contraction of VVF, he said: “We tried to disaggregate the data gathered, we separated it into three to know for how long did they labored at home, how long did they labored on their way to a hospital and for how long did they labored in the hospital and we are seeing some frightening preliminary findings from that.
“It revealed that our health system is in trouble that women are staying too long in hospitals before delivering.” He lamented that there are growing number of women with obstetric fistula in Gombe state. He further disclosed that the state’s health system has something to contribute to VVF. Continuing, he noted: “But what we saw was that people are left to stay laboring for a day or two. “It indicated that the state’s health system has some problem that needs to be addressed in preventing the helpless women from contracting VVF.” He also urged government to make some concerted efforts toward providing rapid intervention funds.
The intervention, according to him, will ensure that women with obstetric fistula are repaired with the expansion of repair facilities in hospitals. “To eradicate fistula, the state government should identify a fistula centre that would be providing uninterrupted services to fistula patients,” he said. He said obstetric fistula is common among Fulani women, followed by the Hausas and girls and women from Kaltungo and Akko Local Government Areas of state. He also lamented the harmful cultural practices that lead to prevalence of VVF in the state. Continuing, he added: “We saw girls that were married at 11 years and also another young deaf girl that I considered being about 20 years old; got married for eight years. She must have been married out at 11 or 12 years old. “The issue of early marriage is still rampant and it confirms to us that early marriage can be associated with the factor; which if not mitigated can lead to the problem of fistula.”
“Once the difference between the knowledge and the practice is closed down, then that will translate into a better quality of health services and also prevention of obstetric fistula in the country.”