Nigeria Has Highest Number Of VVF Globally–UNFPA | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Nigeria Has Highest Number Of VVF Globally–UNFPA

Posted: Jun 23, 2015 at 9:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Yinka Shokunbi, Lagos and Hassan Zaggi, Abuja


Of an estimated two million women in the world suffering from abnormal opening between the virginal and the bladder, known as Vesico Virginal Fistilua (VVF), about 680,000 of them are Nigerians, mostly from the Northeast and Northwest.

This is even as a total estimated 800,000 Nigerian women living with the condition around the country represent about 40 per cent of the global burden.

This was revealed on Monday by the National Fistula analysts with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr Musa Elisha at a media parley in Abuja.

VVF is described as condition experienced by a woman either as a result of prolonged labour during childbirth in which the unborn child presses tightly against the pelvis, cutting off blood flow to the vesicovaginal wall, thereby leaving a hole or as a result of violent rape.

Speaking on the magnitude of the condition in the country, Dr. Elisha revealed that yearly about 12, 000 more women are added to the huge burden from which some die from its complications.

Elisha said the condition has become worrisome to the agency, as it further worsens the maternal health performance indices of the country.

He advised the Federal Government to intensify effort on ways to prevent the increasing rate of the condition, lamenting that of the huge figure, only about 5000 victims could be repaired annually.

According to Elisha, “Where I want the government to come strongly is the issue of prevention. We cannot end fistula in Nigeria without a concerted effort towards its prevention.

“As at now the total number of repairs done in Nigeria is less than 5000. All partners involved in fistula in Nigeria do less than 5000 annually.

“If we have a backlog of about 800,000 and an incidence of about 12, 000 to 20,000 women, you can now calculate how long it will take us to clear the backlog let alone the new cases. It is a huge challenge before us and honestly, if we can prevent fistula occurrence it will be better for us,” Elisha stressed.

The UNFPA expert also disclosed: “There was a study done two years ago by the West African College of Surgeons and the study shows that fistula is most common in the North West and North East region.

“It then goes down towards North central and southeast and south –south regions. We have some cases in the south west, although it is not that common like in the Northwest and Northeast”, noted Elisha.

Elisha put the cost of repairing a VVF patient at about $420 (N91,980), adding that the UNFPA is  actively supporting treatment of patients in Fistula centres located in Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto, Kebbi, Ebonyi, Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers states respectively.