ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) in partnership with the Gwarinpa General Hospital has launched the Ending Child Marriage project to reduce early marriage and increase access to comprehensive Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) information and services within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
Other goals of the 6-month project, which was funded by ActionAid Italy is to support the establishment of a functional fistula care centre in Gwarinpa General Hospital within the FCT.
The Director, Resource Mobilisation and Innovation, ActionAid Nigeria, Nkechi Ilochi-Kanny, during the inception meeting at the weekend in Abuja, explained that the project launch on December 1, 2023 was apt because it fell within the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence (GBV) and World Aids Day.
She said most often, causes of GBV and VVF could be linked around issues of GBV because girls who are not ready for marriage or child bearing are forced into it.
“We see it as a significant issue that falls within the 16 Days of Activism where all of us as both state and non-state actors are working towards and joining our voices with the global communities to galvanise action towards ending all forms for gender-based violence in the lives of women and girls.
“ActionAid sees this as a very important issue that all of us would join hands collectively to respond to. I enjoin us all to reflect on this journey and what your role is as humans in this response and what we should do as institutions and organizations towards ending all forms of violence against women and girls,” she said.
According to her, the partnership with Gwarinpa hospital notwithstanding, they are also seeking collaboration with UNICEF, UNFPA, NHRC, NOA, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Women Affairs, NAPTIP and Ministry of Justice as stakeholders on the project.
Chief Medical Director of Gwarinpa General Hospital, Dr Halima Bello, represented by the Head of Nursing /DDNS, Saliu E. Habiba said Gwarinpa general hospital is a Mother and child friendly hospital which has been at the fore front of taking care of women, children and trying to end early marriage and abuses .
She said in July this year, some doctors, nurses and other health personnel were trained on the management of VVF and did 15 surgeries on the ailment.
She further disclosed that this Monday, another set of surgery would be carried out while 30 women that came for surgery would be attended to from Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week, saying: “We are very happy on this partnership.”