Nigeria will Eradicate Fistula in 10 Years, Says Adewole

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  •  Plans to open more fistula centres across the country

Martins Ifijeh

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has said that the federal government, along with concerned stakeholders will eradicate obstetric fistula in Nigeria within the next 10 years.

Stating this during the flag off of fistula intervention repair programme at Wesley Guild Hospital Unit, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex, Osun State, and facilitated by the Federal Ministry of Health in partnership with Engender Health, implementing partners of USAID Fistula Care Plusproject, and Osun State government, the minister said part of the measures to be adopted in clearing backlogs of fistula cases will be the establishment of more fistula centres across the country.

He said: “We still have a large backlog of women living with fistula in the country, and there is need to close the tap and clear the backlog, which is why we intend to open up more centres across the country.

”We will make Wesley Guild a Federal Medical Centre and a centre of excellence for fistula intervention, to show equity in the distribution of healthcare in the country. We will make fistula repair one of our cardinal issues this year. We also need a crop of seasoned people ready to operate on these cases,” he added.

The surgical repair programme in Osun, which is the first of its kind in the state, had about 33 women scheduled for repair during a weeklong fistula intervention exercise with the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, as part of the surgical team.

In his speech, governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, expressed appreciation to the USAID fistula care Plusproject for the initiative.

The governor, who was represented by the deputy governor of the state, Mrs. Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, said the programme underscores the importance APC government and Osun State have put on health.“We have made poverty eradication and women empowerment to be of utmost importance,” she said.

In his remark, the Country Project Manager, Engender Health, Chief Iyeme Efem, said; “Part of the mandate we have from USAID, and the government of Nigeria is to ensure that bring services closer to the people as it relates to fistula repairs.

“Presently we have backlog cases in Nigeria of about 200,000 cases, with about 12,000 new cases occurring yearly. This is why we initiated the ‘unlocking potential programme strategies’, where we have expert surgeons come and repair fistula cases through a pooled effort. We decided that we will select certain areas and do a massive mobilisation and a pool effort which will bring these women out. This will serve as some form of criteria that will enable us to open new centres in these areas.

“As at today 33 women have been admitted, the hospital only has 28 beds so we have to move the rest to Oyo to continue the repairs because we can’t send them back. We also learnt that there are many who want to come but they don’t have money, so we are going to work with the social work team to find them, move them to other location or reschedule them for next time when we come back to Osun,” he added.