Laure VVF Centre Treats 15,000 Fistula Patients In 26 Years — Coordinator

Since 1987, the Laure Vesico Vaginal Fistula, VVF, Centre domiciled at Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital, Kano, has successfully treated 15,000 fistula survivors in the state.

The Coordinator of the Centre, Dr Amir Imam-Yola, made this known at the commemoration of the 2023 International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, IDEOF, on Tuesday at the hospital Kano.

The day was designed in 2013 by the United Nations General Assembly with a view to create greater awareness globally about obstetric fistula and intensify actions toward eradicating the problem.

Every year on May 23, the global community celebrates the day, fixed by the United Nations, UN, to appreciate the struggles of women living with the condition.

Vesico Vaginal Fistula, VVF, or Obstetric Fistula, also known as fistula, is a childbirth complication which leads to abnormal opening between the bladder and the vagina, causing continuous and unremitting urinary incontinence.

The condition is among the most distressing complications of gynecologic and obstetric procedures; however, it can be repaired through surgery.

Some common causes of VVF are obstructed or prolonged labour, lack of prompt access to medical care, and poverty in some cases, as well as unsafe obstetric or gynecological surgery.

The condition can cause discomfort, and if left untreated, it may cause serious bacterial infection, which may result to sepsis, a dangerous condition that can lead to low blood pressure, organ damage or even death.

The theme of this year’s celebration is “20 years on – progress but not enough! Act now to end Fistula by 2030.’’

Imam-Yola, therefore, said “the centre provides activities such as fistula repair, advocacy, prevention of fistula activity, training, documentation and research opportunities.’’

He urged the state government to provide drugs and rehabilitation centre for fistula survivors.

On his part, the Executive Director, Fistula Foundation Nigeria, FFN, Mr Isa Musa, said obstetric fistula is a public health issue in Nigeria with the country having the largest burden of untreated women and girls.

He said “without treatment, fistula can severely impact a woman’s health and well-being.

“We have an estimated 332,000 women awaiting treatment, compounded by annual incidence of 13,000 new cases.’’

He called on the Kano State Government to make free fistula care services a priority, especially provision for training of additional indigenous doctors and nurses on surgical management of fistula.

He also urged the government to upgrade the Laure Fistula Centre with additional wards (bed capacity), saying that the centre initially had 48 beds but now left with only 10 beds.

He requested for the provision of equipment and other supplies to improve the physical, social and vocational aptitude of women affected with fistula.

Musa commended Prof Idris Suleiman of AKTH, Dr Amir Imam-Yola and the team for providing continuous fistula repair services at the centre.

Kano State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Dr Zahra’u Muhammad-Umar, said the state government had done a lot in the provision of welfare packages to survivors of fistula and in terms of their feeding, shelter, clothing and empowerment.

NAN reports that the ministry also presented award of excellence to the executive director of FFN and other doctors for their contributions toward ending fistula.

Maryam Adam, who spoke on behalf of the survivors, said she had been struggling and managing VVF for 12 years and had done 10 surgeries.

She said “my husband divorced me and married another woman, I have been going from one hospital to another in search of cure.

“Before, I pass urine and feaces uncontrollably, but now I only urinate at minimal level. There is improvement. I was also trained as a tailor, which helped me in getting medication and  have remarried for two years despite my condition. I thank God and thank Fistula Foundation Nigeria.’’