Dr Charles Njoku, a consultant gynecologist and obstetrician at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, said on Thursday that 20,000 women suffer from Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) annually in Nigeria.
Njoku said this in Calabar during a community sensitization and awareness creation programme on the implications of (VVF), organized by the Cross River Ministry of Women Affairs in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
He described VVF as a hole in the bladder through the vaginal that allow uncontrollable leakage of urine to the outside through the vaginal.
“VVF is caused mainly by difficult or prolonged obstructed labour; the impacted fetal head presses the vaginal and bladder wall against the pubic bone.
“That pressed point sloughs or wears away after four- to -seven days, creating a whole (fistula) for urine to freely leak out, and in some cases, it may be caused by surgeries, instrumental manipulations or cervical cancer.
“This prolonged labour occurs when a young girl gets pregnant before time, tries to deliver, remain in labour for more than three days or more, and the baby may die in some cases.’’
He also said that for one woman that die in pregnancy, 20 sustained injuries like VVF, adding that out of every 100,000 deliveries, 211 developed VVF in the country.
“The treatment of VVF is mainly by surgical repair of the hole,’’ he said.
Njoku identified the treatment of VVF to include: education of the girl-child, women empowerment, health education, and antenatal care and delivery under the care of a skilled attendant.
Also speaking, the Uyo Zonal Commander of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Mr Peter Essien, said that the development of any society depended on the welfare of its youths.
He said that most child traffickers deceived young girls and boys in Nigeria under the guise of offering them good jobs in Italy, France, Libya and other countries, but ended up forcing them into prostitution, hard labour and all forms of dehumanization.
Represented by Mr Godwin Eyake, Head of Investigation in the command, Essien said that most Nigerian girls developed VVF and other medical challenges when they were being trafficked and forced into early prostitution.
He identified the causes of child trafficking to include poverty, greed, education, low morality, and the desire for greener pasture.
“If you export people out of Nigeria or import people into Nigeria as slaves, you will be sent to jail for lie,’’ Essien said.
He advised parents to see the welfare of their children as paramount and should give birth to the number of children they could cater for.
The Commissioner for Women Affairs in the state, Mrs Edak Iwuchukwu, said that it was important for youths to be aware of the implications of VVF.
Represented by Mr Jacob Osang, Director of Administration in the ministry, Iwuchukwu commended the organisers for sensitising the youth to the dangers of VVF.
The UNFPA Coordinator in the state, Mrs Mercy Ayang, said that VVF was a global issue that needed the collective efforts of all.
Ayang said that the objective of the programme was to pass the message of VVF across to the youth.
She also said that child trafficking was one of the ways through which young girls get VVF after they were forced into early prostitution.
One of the participants at the event, Ms Cynthia Obi, said she was now educated on the causes of VVF, adding that the awareness programme was a welcome development for youths in the state. (NAN)