An international medical humanitarian organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières, also known as Doctors without Borders, said it has successfully conducted 6,000 Vesico Vaginal Fistula surgeries in Jigawa State since 2008.
The Medical Operations Senior Manager, Marie-Hortense Koudika, disclosed this on Thursday, in Abuja at a media briefing on the situation of maternal and neonatal healthcare in the state.
Koudika also said the organisation in collaboration with the state Ministry of Health has hospitalised 143,000 patients, carried out 90,000 deliveries, 18,000 Caesarean Sections, and admitted 19,000 newborns.
Vesicovaginal fistula is an abnormal opening between the bladder and the vagina that results in continuous and unremitting urinary incontinence. The entity is one of the most distressing complications of gynecologic and obstetric procedures.
VVFs are often a complication after surgery to treat problems in the bladder or vagina. They also can be linked to gynecological cancer, either from the disease or sometimes as a side effect of radiation therapy or surgery to treat the cancer. Particularly bad or repeat urinary tract infections can sometimes lead to fistulas too, but this is rare.
MSF has been present in Nigeria since 1996 and has been responding to disease outbreaks and maternal and pediatric health needs for many years throughout the country. The organisation has also scaled up its support for the treatment of malnutrition in the northwest and remain committed to tackling neglected disease such as Noma.
“As of today, MSF is running regular projects in 11 states across Nigeria: Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Ebonyi, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara. We work with more than 2, 800 staff, the vast majority locally recruited.
“MSF started its intervention in Jahun General Hospital in 2008 with Obstetrical Fistula repair -Obstetric fistula is one of the most serious and dangerous injuries that can occur during childbirth. It is a perforation between the vagina and the bladder and/or rectum, caused by prolonged labour and occurring in the absence of prompt, high-quality obstetric care,” Koudika disclosed.
“The reduction of morbidity and mortality is a joint effort involving traditional and religious authorities, civil society, the Jigawa health authorities, and international partners – to facilitate preventive measures and access to care and to empower pregnant women to decide on their care path with medical and community health actors.
“Working in partnership is key, health is everyone’s business and there are so many needs. The participation of high-level officials show the authorities take these problems seriously and there is political will to make a difference for women’s health in Jigawa state,” she added.
The MSF Head of Mission, Abdel Kader stated that many women in the state failed to access ante-natal care, thereby making them susceptible to complications during childbirth.
He, however, called for increased awareness to encourage the women to attend ante-natal.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr. Muhammed Kainuwa said the rate of maternal mortality is unacceptable and the state is committed to ensuring improved healthcare services for its citizens.
“We are here to discuss and look at the data critically and see how the government of Jigawa state can support MSF to expand the services. We have agreed that we are going to increase the comprehensive emergency obstetric care in general hospitals, we are going to make sure we open the emergency obstetric and neonatal care in 281 PHCs in all the Local Government Areas in the state, and we are going to revitalise our PHCs and commensurate monitors.”