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Reasons women suffer from Vesico Vaginal Fistula

Aisha Ahmadu, 23, suffered from Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) forfive years before succour came her way recently. She said she began to bleed after a…

Aisha Ahmadu, 23, suffered from Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) forfive years before succour came her way recently. She said she began to bleed after a caesarian section and thereafter started leaking urine.

AhmaduAliyu,Aisha’s husband, said their problems began when his wife was allowed to be in labour for four days  at a tertiary hospital in the state before a cesarean operation was performed on her.

“Despite the agony she went through, they kept her in labour for four days. It resulted to verbal  exchange between me and the doctor. I was shocked when my wife developed  fistula after the  caesarean  section done at the hospital.

“I had opened a file for her at the hospital  and  encouraged her to go for ante-natal clinic. I took her there on time but instead of them to help her, they neglected her for days. I don’t have the means or I would have sued the doctor and the hospital for the damage done to my wife.”

He said he spent a lot of money looking for both medical and traditional solutions to the problem.Aliyu however said their plight changed as relief came their way recently  when Aisha benefitted from a campaign against the disease organised by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and its teams.

“They brought smiles to our families without collecting a penny,” he said.

Aisha said before the surgery, she cried all the time. “I want government to sanction any doctor who is careless in handling caesarean section. I am so excited now because I am no longer leaking urine following the surgery conducted by the UNFPA team. I just want to thank UNFPA and my husband who stood by me all through,” sheadded.

Vesico-vaginal fistula  (VVF) refers to a hole that develops between the vagina and the bladder, leading to uncontrollable leaking of urine through the vagina.

“Vesico-vaginal fistula  (VVF)  is a situation where a woman leaks urine through  the vagina uncontrollably and not through the normal pathway,” said Prof. Sunday Adeoye of the National Vesico-Vaginal Fistula Centre Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.

He said one of the major causes of VVF in Nigeria and many developing countries is  prolonged obstructed labour, adding that it accounts for almost 90 percent of cases.

He said other causes include  accident during surgery like in the process of removing fibroids, or appendicitis, when the bladder and ureter couldget injured thereby causing VVF.

Prof. Adeoye said:“If you go into the wards now, you will see women who have  been  in  labour  for five days which is not supposed to be. Secondly, some women don’t go to the hospital so at the end they would needcaesarean section.”

The medical expert said women are often counseled before and after the surgery to close the hole. “It is important that they have understanding why they developed the problems because if they don’t understand it, the problems may happen again,”

He said the second component of the counseling is to tell them that in their next pregnancy they have to deliver through caesarean section.  If they attempt to deliver by themselves again they will end up with VVF, he said.

Prof Adeoyesaid women  affected with VVF are also counseled to abstain from sexual relationship for a period of 46 months because if they do earlier than that, the repair will breakdown and they will start leaking again.

Recently,the United Nations Population Fund held a two-week  campaign where they mobilized women who have been suffering from Vesico Vaginal Fistula from the three states most affected by insurgency: Yobe, Adamawa and Borno.

About 150 women benefitted from free surgery.Some of  them said they suffered  from the illness for decades and some even abandoned by their families and husbands.

A team of three international and eight national surgeons including Prof. Sunday Adeoyeparticipated in the campaign.

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