At Least 300 VVF Patients Receive Free Surgery In Niger State
At least 300 women who suffer from Vesicovaginal Fistula (VVF) in Niger State have received free surgeries.
The free surgery initiative is led by the wife of the state governor, Dr Amina Bello.
While the state government says it is making efforts to reach out to as many victims as possible, Mrs Bello says many of them hide away because of fear of being stigmatized.
She told journalists in the state that, “One of the most significant challenges is that we are not able to access a lot of the women who have it.
“We actually go into the villages to look for them but a lot of them are hiding because this is a problem where women are stigmatized, they hide away from society so getting the women to come out is one challenge”.
VVF is a condition in which a woman is unable to control the passage of urine caused by an extension between the bladder and the vagina.
Medical experts identified prolonged labour as one of the causes of the condition and also lack of access to basic healthcare facilities especially in rural areas.
Another major cause is the early marriage of girls mostly forced out of school either due to poverty, religious or cultural beliefs.
The government, however, says it is addressing the challenges.
The Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr Mustapha Jibril, noted that the government’s key focus is on the revitalization of primary health care systems among other things.
He said, “The governor of Niger State has taken primarily the revitalization of healthcare systems as his major focus and what we have been trying to do is to increase the number of what we refer to as skilled birth attendants.”
The Commissioner for Education in the state, Fatima Madugu, also noted that the government is addressing the issue of early girl child marriage through a school enrollment drive.
Justice For Ochanya
More activists across the country have continued to call for the education of the girl child to avoid instances where they are forced into early marriages or situations that expose them to the risk of sexual violence.
The calls have been intensified in the past few weeks following the case of a 13-year-old girl, Ochanya Ogbanje, who died after complications from VVF.
She was said have been raped continuously for three years by her uncle who was a lecturer at the Benue State Polytechnic, Andrew Ogbuja, as well as his son.
Some of her family members who spoke to Channels Television raised the issue of poor quality of education, noting that the need to access proper education was part of what led to her leaving the community in the first place to live with the relatives.
Ochanya was buried on Friday at her hometown, Ogene Amejo, Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State, amidst tears and grief.
The family, as well as the National Council Of Women Society, have continued to call for justice for the victim.