Government Mandates Free Treatment For Women With Fistula

By Judd-Leonard Okafor


The Federal Government has mandated all federal-owned hospitals to offer free surgical repairs for women living with obstetric fistula.

Fistula is an abnormal hole that forms in the vagina caused by prolonged, obstructed labour during childbirth.

Minister of Health Prof Isaac Adewole said this in Ogoja, Cross River at the start of the latest pooled repair for women living with the condition.

By this, teaching hospitals and federal medical centres will be required to waive surgery charges and laboratory test fees for women who present for fistula treatment.

Speaking on behalf of the minister, the national coordinator of fistula care at the health ministry, Ogunmayi Peters, said, “The letter has been signed and is being dispatched right now to all the teaching hospitals and Federal Medical Centres.

“This is being done in collaboration with Fistula Care Plus Project, who will take care of the provision of consumables and other necessities,” she said.

The pooled effort at Ogoja General Hospital is the 16 at the centre, and the third in recent weeks as surgeons and nurses move from centres in Ilesa to Kwara and Zamfara to repair hundreds of women.

Adewole, an obstetrician and gynaecologist, joined in surgery at the Wesley Guild Hospital in Ilesa, and has already declared fistula and cancer a priority mandate for the ministry.

“For now we have about 16 fistula centres; we want to increase that to 36, in all the states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),” Ogunmayi said.

The ministry is collaborating with Engender Health, which implements the Fistula Care Plus, to train nurses and surgeons in fistula care.

Cross River is among states whose health ministry has a dedicated fistula desk, considered endemic, according to its health commissioner Inyang Asibong.

The hospital chief medical director Dr Patrick Ubi said the proposed new block when completed, would house a consumables store, kitchen, internet services, physiotherapy and a theatre.

Other needs in the unit include utility vehicle, provision of ten solar electric light pole and medical commodities, Ubi noted.

Engender Health is already talking with Cross River government about meeting the needs to enable the centre perform better, according to its country manager Iyeme Efem.

Women who had undergone repairs testified to having given birth after successfully drying.

“This is proof that women who have been repaired can have a normal life,” said Paul Njagu, fistula coordinator for the Ogoja centre.


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3 Responses to Government Mandates Free Treatment For Women With Fistula

  1. Ebonychyqui2 August 24, 2017 at 9:27 am

    God bless IFA 4 declaring a free treatments for those with Fistula. God bless u Mr Isaac!

  2. Akpes August 24, 2017 at 9:35 am

    That’s a good one Sir, fistula is not something one can live with. The stigmatization from the smell alone is enough to kill the victims, the treatment is needed.

  3. Princess August 24, 2017 at 9:41 am

    Thumbs up for Nigerian Government. Make sense!


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