The United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) on Saturday said about 800,000 women suffered from Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) annually in Nigeria.
The Country Representative of the fund in Nigeria, Ratidzai Ndhlovu, disclosed this at the graduation of 100 rehabilitated women living with obstetric Fistula in Sokoto.
Ndhlovu, represented by Dr Audu Alayande, Assistant Country Representative, Reproductive Health, said one in every 10 women suffered from this condition following childbirth.
Ndhlovu, who donated assorted empowerment materials worth N2.3 million to the graduands, said most women who developed fistula had probably given birth at home with no assistance from skilled birth attendant.
“For this group of women, everyday, they must cope with the foul smell emanating from their leaking urine and faeces,” she added.
She lamented that most of the affected women often lose their babies following child birth process.
“In the same vein, these women down with VVF were often abandoned by their husbands, stigmatized by families and communities, and later ostracized.”
She said the graduands had received a two-month training in sewing and knitting, petty trading and grinding machines operations, among others.
She said the items given to them would help them to be productive and useful to themselves.
“This gesture is aimed at helping their reintegration process back into the society and reduce their stigmatization,” Ndhlovu said.
The Permanent Secretary, state ministry for Women and Children Affairs, Suleiman Sarkin-Fulani, commended UNFPA for the gesture.
Mr. Sarkin-Fulani said the state government had staffed and equipped Maryam Abacha Hospital, which hosts VVF Centre to enable it take care of its patients.
He appealed to other donor agencies, partner organizations and wealthy individuals to assist in treating and rehabilitating VVF patients.
Musa Isa, the Executive Director, Nigeria Fistula Foundation, urged the beneficiaries to desist from selling the items given to them.
One of the graduands, Balki Saidu, commended the fund for rescuing them from the “shackles of poverty”.