The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Engender Health and Fistula Care in collaboration with the Cross River State Government have established a fistula care centre in Ogoja Local Government Area of the State to cater for the health care of women suffering from Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) problem.
According to sources, VVF problem is usually caused by obstetric labour, early marriage and female genital mutilation commonly noticed in the Northern part of the country, but reports recently said that the problem also affects women in the South-East and South-South region.
Conducting newsmen round the VVF centre at the Ogoja General Hospital, the Medical Director, Dr. Berth Egabe, said that the centre was established by USAID in collaboration with the state government.
He commended the organisation for setting up the centre as well as the training of personnel to carry the operation in the state.
Dr. Agabe regretted that fistula today had become a problem in the state following the discovery of those living with it.
According to him “there are about 59 fistula patients already identified with only 2 bed-units to cater for them. He expressed hope that by next year the rest of the women having the problem would have been addressed.”
He appealed to the state government through the ministry of health to provide more bed-units in the centre so that the rest of the pending cases would be handled.
In a paper entitled “The Role of Religious Groups in the Prevention of Fistula”, Rev. Fr. Alphonsus BomBom, said the church especially the Catholic Church has a role in ensuring that the youth and adolescent were educated in human sexuality and family life in schools and parishes, promote chastity, pro-life and other human life protection as well as empowering parents to educate and affirm the young persons.”
He described fistula as an abnormal communication between two hallow organs or between a hollow organ and the exterior skin, adding that “many fistula are caused by injury and through this injury, infection sets in.”
The Catholic Church, he said, has established functional NFP, RVF/VVF units in all catholic hospitals and strengthening some to become centres for research and training, training of doctors and other professional health workers for research and craftsmanship and strengthening the referral linkages within the health services structure.
More than 30 journalists from print and electronic media organizations attended the 3-day Media Roundtable in Ogoja to discuss among others issues relating to the Fistula and the way forward.