Fistula: 20, 000 cases must be handled annually to end the scourge —Minister

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The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, says it is mandatory to repair more than 20, 000 fistula patients every year in order to put an end to the scourge in this generation.

Adewole made the remark at a seminar on high level fistula awareness organised by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) held in Abuja.

“If we want to end fistula in our generation, we must repair more than 20,000 every year.

We have 56 tertiary health facilities; all the 56 facilities must conduct at least one fistula repair every day that is the only way we can end fistula in Nigeria,’’ Adewole said.

The minister, therefore, said that Federal Government had already made fistula repairs free for victims in the country.

Adewole said the government would continue to promote family planning and ensure trust at the health facility to reduce maternal and infant mortality as well as minimise fistula in addition to creating jobs for the women.

He advised healthcare providers to show compassion to patients in need of their care, so as to attract women to the existing health facilities.

According to him, the ideal practice in delivery is to ensure that no woman spends more than one day in labour.

“We should make it our rule, the ideal is 12 hours, by the time woman cannot deliver after 12 hours in labour then something is wrong.

No delivery should last more than 12 hours, he said.

Adewole said government would increase the number of people that are repairing fistula, stressing that every tertiary health institution can repair fistula.

The Acting Country Representative of UNFPA, Dr Eugene Kongnyuy, said 57 complicated fistula cases had been repaired free of charge in Borno.

He further said some obstetric fistula surgeons carried out the repairs with support from United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and other partners.

According to him, the experts who had planned to perform more than 100 surgeries only did 57 owing to the fact that the cases were complicated.

He said the free surgeries and seminar were part of the 2018 campaign activities to end fistula in Nigeria, adding that the activities were supported by Korea International Cooperation Agency and Canadian Government.

He commended the Federal Ministry of Health for having a national strategy on the obstetric fistula.

L.NASIR