626 VVF patients get corrective surgeries, vocational training in Borno
Over 600 women have benefited from free Vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) repair surgeries under the Fostering Resilience and provision of basic medical services project for women and girls in Borno State.
VVF is an abnormal opening between the bladder and the vagina that results in continuous and unremitting urinary incontinence. The entity is one of the most distressing complications of gynecologic and obstetric procedures.
The project implemented by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) also provided an opportunity for the 626 fistula survivors who underwent surgical repair to acquire skills in a chosen skill area of interest from the comprehensive vocational training programme at the newly established Integrated Women Empowerment and Safe Shelter that helped in skill acquisition and economic development of vulnerable women and girls.
Speaking at the end of the project meeting of the UNFPA- KOICA funded project, last week, in Abuja, UNFPA Country Representative in Nigeria, Ms. Ulla Muellar, said that the women who had lost the hope of living normal lives free of the involuntary dripping and leakage of urine were treated at the newly constructed ultra-modern Fistula centre in the Borno State Specialist Hospital, Maiduguri.
She explained that the UNFPA and KOICA signed an agreement to implement a five year (2018 – 2021) project, “Fostering Resilience and Provision of Basic Medical Services for Women and Girls in Borno State, Nigeria”, through the restoration of access to basic health and social services in conflict-affected communities. According to her, the project was to build resilient communities through the restoration of access to basic medical and social services in conflict-affected communities.
She added that after the vocational training given to the survivors, the women received starter kits and finance to start their income-generating activity to support and encourage their economic stability and resilience.
Mueller said that 37 Fistula surgeons and nurses were trained to update their surgical skills to conduct Fistula repair surgeries effectively while 27,598 individuals were reached with direct comprehensive and lifesaving Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services in supported health facilities across the three Local Government Areas (LGAs).
She observed that some of the challenges observed in the implementation of the project were principally the initial complete lockdown and inaccessibility of certain parts of the State due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the heightened unpredictable security situation in Borno State in the current wave of violence and displacements decreases access to health service provision in some locations due to fear.
In his remarks, KOICA Country Director, Mr. Son Sungil, commended the efforts of both the UNFPA and the Borno state government in ensuring a successful implementation of the project.
On his part, Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said Borno state has the highest number of VVF cases and the highest burden of maternal deaths in the country and stressed the need for a better health system in the country.