Ending Fistula: Minister laments lack of capacity, as UNFPA resolves 57 cases in Borno

August 6th, 2018

By Hassan Zaggi

The Federal Government must redouble its efforts for it to be able to end Fistula in the near future.

This is even as the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, has raised the alarm that for Nigeria to end fistula in the near future, Nigeria must have the capacity to repair 20,000 cases every year.

He disclosed this at a high level fistula awareness seminar
organised by the United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) supported by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and Canadian Government as part of the 2018 campaign activities to end fistula in Nigeria, in Abuja.

In another twist, the Acting Country Representative of the UNFPA in Nigeria, Dr Eugene Kongnyuy, has revealed that his agency has provided free surgical repairs for 57 complicated fistula cases in Borno state.

He said the free surgeries were provided through the support of KOICA.

According to him, the experts earlier planned to conduct over 100 surgeries but ended up conducting only 57 because most of the cases were complicated.
While lamenting the high rate of Fistula in the country, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole said: “We have between 150,000-200,000 fistula cases and we have additional 15,000 cases every year. We have been able to repair through surgeries at best less than 4,000 cases.

“ In order words, if we do nothing Fistula will not end in Nigeria. So, something must change.”

Adewole insisted that any women on labour that spends more than 12 hours in a facility, it means something is definitely not right.

“No woman must spend more than one day in labour. In fact we should make our rule that no woman should spend 12 hours without delivery. By the time she spends 12 hours without delivery, something is wrong.”

In order to end Fistula in Nigeria, the Minister said: “We must repair more than 20,000 cases every year for us to end Fistula in our generation.

“We have 56 facilities and all the facilities must repair at least one case every day. That is the only way we can end it. We already have 4 Fistula centers and we are creating additional 5.

“We will provide resources in 2018 and we will add more money in 2019 so that we can have resources to cater for the cases.”

On her part, the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, disclosed that Nigeria is among the countries in West Africa that has benefited from a United Nations (UN) approved initiative aimed at improving maternal and neonatal indices.

According to her: “The UN spotlight initiative is meant to address harmful and negative traditional practices that affect women. The Federal Ministry of Health is one of the lead ministries.

“Other benefitting ministries are the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development; Agriculture, and Budget and National Planning.’’

While noting that the UN has put some resources at the table for the programme, Hajia Zainab said: “Through the initiative, we would be able to arrange towards improving the plan to ensure that every pregnant woman would be able access quality health care services at PHC level.”

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