In a crucial move to address reproductive health challenges, an initiative is targeting over 560 women and girls, including those with disabilities, for surgical interventions addressing Vesico Virginal Fistula (VVF) and other reproductive health issues in Taraba state.
Professor Sunday Lengmang, the Project Director of Evangel VVF Center at Bingham University Teaching Hospital in Jos, Plateau state, shared this information yesterday during an exclusive interview with our reporter in Jalingo, the state capital.
The medical team, which arrived in the state last week, has successfully performed surgeries on 66 women and girls, including those with disabilities, as part of the ongoing second phase of the project.
The surgeries were conducted at the United Methodist Church located along Mile Six in Jalingo.
Professor Lengmang, a consultant in family medicine and a fistula surgeon, revealed that the center has trained no fewer than 20 nurses, doctors, and midwives on primary and secondary prevention of obstetric fistula in the state.
Additionally, 20 community health workers underwent training to identify high-risk pregnancies and refer women and girls dealing with obstetric fistula in the State.
He emphasized that the center has also formed and trained 16 community advocacy and response teams (CARTs) to lead advocacy, community awareness, and sensitization at the local government level.
Highlighting the center’s specific concern for women with female genital fistula and urinary fistula, Professor Lengmang expressed the center’s determination to improve the health of women and girls, especially those in their reproductive age.
Identifying poverty as the root cause of vesico virginal fistula, he called on women suffering from such ailments to avail themselves of the center’s services, as surgeries and treatments are provided free of charge.
The Surgeon said that “the root cause of Vistula is poverty because it is poverty that makes women not deliver in the hospital” and affirmed that “poverty can deny a girl from going to school and obtaining the education necessary to protect against Vistula.”
In terms of sustainability, healthcare workers, he said have been trained to identify patients at risk of prolonged obstructed labour, providing follow-up and linking them to hospitals to prevent vesico virginal fistula from developing.
Professor Lengmang appealed to media practitioners to announce the team’s presence in the state, encouraging women and girls suffering from VVF to come forward for free surgical operations.
Beneficiaries, speaking with our correspondent praised the center for extending support to the less privileged in the state.
They pledged to reach out to women and girls across the state facing similar situations, urging them to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the center.
The initiative, known as ‘Comprehensive and Inclusive Women’s Health Project in Nigeria (CIWHIN+),’ is supported by Christoffel Blending Mission (CBM) UK, CBM Australia, and CBM New Zealand. The project aims to improve the rights and access to quality health.