End Fistula Day: Expert advocates free treatment for victims

VVF

Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF)

Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF)

Dr Nathaniel Adewole, a Consultant Gynaecologist, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, has called for more involvement of individuals and corporate bodies to make the repairs of fistula free and easily accessible.

Adewole made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja in commemoration of this year’s International Day to end obstetrics Fistula.

The UN set aside the day, since 2013, to raise awareness of this issue and mobilise support around the globe.

The theme for this year is: “Leaving no one behind: Let us commit to ending fistula now!”

According to him, obstetric fistula is a medical condition in which a hole develops in the birth canal as a result of childbirth.

He said it can be between the vagina and rectum, ureter or bladder and it can result in incontinence of urine or faeces.

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The expert said its complications may include depression, infertility, social isolation and poverty.

Adewole said other common types are Vesico-Vaginal Fistula (VVF) and Rectovaginal Fistula (RVF) or combination of the two.

“The health system must be strengthened with appropriate trained personnel like at least midwives in Primary Healthcare Centres and doctors in health centres with good referral system.

“This would minimise the issue of prolonged labour which is the main cause of obstetric fistula.

“There are quite a number of NGOs already assisting in psychological support and repairs of the fistula,” Adewole said.

He said community advocacy cannot be overemphasised to avoid stigma and rejection, adding that it can help in rehabilitation and reintegration of affected individuals.