ActionAid unveils first VVF centre worth over N51m in FCT

Patients who develop Vesico -Vaginal Fistula (VVF) in Abuja and travel far and wide for treatment can now heave a sign of relief as ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) in collaboration with Gwarinpa General Hospital launched the first ever VVF centre worth N51.5million in Abuja .

The Country Director, Andrew Mamedu during the launch on Thursday said in Nigeria, the statistics surrounding Vesicovaginal Fistula (VVF) in Nigeria with an estimated 2 million women living with unrepaired VVF, and between 50, 00,000 new cases emerging annually, only 3,000 of whom are fortunate enough are attended to each year.

He said Nigeria, ranking third globally in child marriage rates, bears witness to consequences disrupted education, increased vulnerability to violence, an opportunities for personal fulfillment.

He said despite this staggering burden, access to comprehensive VVF services remained inadequate stating that with only 18 government approved VVF centers nationwide and none in the FCT until today, countless women have suffered in silence, their agony exacerbated by prolonged waits and inadequate care.

He said the inauguration of the 20-bed wards at Gwarinpa Medical Centre signifies not only the completion of a construction project but a tangible commitment to breaking the cycle of early marriage and VVF in the Federal Capital Territory.

He explained that the Ending Child Marriage Project, a collaboration between ActionAid Nigeria and Gwarinp Hospital with funding support from ActionAid Italy which represents a beacon of hope in this battle through this initiative adding that they aim not only to provide essential healthcare services but also address the root causes of VVF by empowering women and girls to express their rights, informed choices, and shape their own destinies.

Also, the Medical Director of Gwarinpa General Hospital, Moriamo Shaibu said over 80% of the cases were patients who developed Fistula in Abuja, such patients previously didn’t know where to access care and were being referred to Jos, Bauchi, Katsina and other centres adding that there are about 19 centres and this is the 20th centre now in Nigeria and the only one in Federal Capital Territory.

She said in Abuja, there are only 2 specialised Fistula surgeons. Dr Idris Saad-with over 30 years experience; and Dr Halima Bello with over 10 years experience.

On behalf of the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare Professor Mohammed Ali Pate, the Director/Head Reproductive Health Division of the Ministry, Lawrence Anyanwu said the milestone marks a significant step forward in providing critical care and support to women and girls affected by this debilitating condition which accounts for significant proportion of morbidity in women and girls in Nigeria.

He said the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has over the years been implementing measures aimed at preventing and/or reducing incidences that result in obstetric fistula and where they occur, ensuring effective treatment and rehabilitation of the patients wherever they may be in the country.

He said given the rising incidences of obstetric fistula in the country, establishment and proper management of more Fistula Centres becomes highly imperative.

“This therefore makes the launch of this Centre today a very important milestone in our quest to control incidences of debilitating condition and ensure that those who are affected are treated, rehabilitated and re-integrated back into the society.

” This is task that Government alone cannot handle hence there have been solicitations of support from various stakeholders in order for a lot more to be done,” he said .