The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) trained and empowered 210 survivours of Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) in Borno in the past two years, the fund’s Head of Humanitarian Programme in the state, Midala Balami, said.
He made this known on Friday in Maiduguri at the graduation and hand over of start-up kits to 30 VVF survivors at the UNFPA Women and Girls Empowerment Centre.
VVF is an abnormal opening between the bladder and the vagina that results in continuous and unremitting urinary incontinence. The entity is one among the most distressing complications of gynecologic and obstetric procedures.
The most common causes of VVF are obstructed labour, early marriage, poverty, and women’s limited control over the use of family resources.
Women and girls with this disability are often abandoned by their husbands and isolated from the community due to the smell and associated shame of urine leakage.
However, the condition can be corrected through surgery to repair the anomaly.
The UNFPA humanitarian programme head, therefore lauded the Royal Heritage Health Foundation (RHHF) for effective handling of the training on behalf of the fund.
He said the measure was part of what the UN body had been doing to protect vulnerable people in the society.
Mr Balami said “this is part of the continuous process that UNFPA had been doing for economic empowerment and reintegration of women and girls.”
He explained that the survivors were provided training on confectionaries based on their choices.
He thanked medical doctors who participated in the repair surgery to correct the anomaly and assured the Borno Government of UNFPA support toward empowering women and girls, particularly the vulnerable ones.
The UNFPA Coordinator for North East, Macauley Christian, said that as a reproductive health organisation, UNFPA “would continue to be on the side of government to ensure that no one was left behind in areas of prevention and response to Gender Based Violence in emergencies and reproductive health needs of women.
He said “today, we are graduating a number of women who are very strong, who have gone through all sorts of ordeals.“We are graduating them after giving them skills, which is a comprehensive package by the UNFPA to support the state government in ensuring that survivors of fistula get the necessary medical attention as psycho social support, as well as socio-economic support.”
Mr Christian, who said that similar programmes were being done in Adamawa and Yobe states, added that there would be follow up of beneficiaries to ensure that they put into use the training and knowledge they acquired into practice to earn some income.
The Permanent Secretary, Borno Ministry of Women Affairs, Mohammed Hamza, who spoke on behalf of the state government, lauded UNFPA for the various interventions it had been offering to people of the state.
He urged beneficiaries to reciprocate the gesture by making maximum use of the opportunity to improve their lives.
Meanwhile, the Chief Medical Director of Maiduguri Specialists Hospital, Laraba Bello, who said the hospital accorded special attention to fistula patients, lauded UNFPA for improving the fistula ward in the hospital.
She urged the survivors to observe all guidelines given them regarding their operations, and utilise the training and facilities given them for the purpose intended.
Hauwa Halidu, who spoke on behalf of the survivors, expressed their gratitude to God for providing them the opportunity to link up with UNFPA, which she said had continued to impact positively on their lives.