Since the era of womanhood, Vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) has long been in existence. However, this ailment seems to be a serious health issue among Nigerian women.
VVF is an abnormal fistulous tract that extends between the bladder (or vesico) and the vagina, that allows a continuous involuntary discharge of urine into the vaginal vault.
Most times, VVF is caused by childbirth, when a prolonged labour presses the unborn child tightly against the pelvis, thereby cutting away the flow of blood to the vesicovaginal wall.
The Director of National Obstetric Fistula Centre in Katsina state, Dr. Aliyu Mohammed El-laden said Nigeria has about 500,000 cases of VVF. Dr El-laden said that not less than 12,000 fresh cases of VVF are recorded every year in Nigeria.
He stated that VVF cases are on the rise in the country and there is the lack of enough fistula centres to treat cases of VVF.
Dr Elladen said just 2,000 cases of VVF are treated in Nigeria by different fistula centres set up the federal government of Nigeria.
He indicated funding as a major challenge facing fistula centres in the country, declaring that lack of a source of revenue hinder their activities.
El-laden also indicated that Katsina fistula centre which was established in 2014 was yet to enjoy any financial support from the state government.
“Since we took off in 2014, Katsina state government has not financially assisted the centre; we depend largely on subversion from the Federal Government.”
He said as a result of lack of funds, an empowerment programme usually organised for VVF patients had to be suspended by the centre.
He said the empowerment programme was established by the immediate past administration and had trained VVF cases in patients as well as given them cash assistance to set up businesses.
He, however, said that the centre in the state had begun discussions with NGOs on how to help the centre become functional again.