The Country Project Manager, Fistula Care Plus, Chief Iyeme Efem, has stated that at least 33 new cases of obstetric fistula emerge every day in Nigeria, bring the number of new cases to 12,000 every year. Stating this during the Media Roundtable Discussion on Fistula Intervention in Lagos recently, he said with the country already having a backlog of between 150,000 to 200,000 women living with fistula, the additional 12,000 new cases every year posed as extra burden for the nation.
“However, as part of efforts to reduce the burden in the country, Fistula Care Plus is engaged in at least 2,000 repairs yearly, while other organisations collectively repairs about 3,000 women every yearly, bringing the total number to 5,000 repairs per year in Nigeria. “But despite these efforts, we still have a deficit of 7,000 cases that are not repaired from the new cases yearly, while about 200,000 backlogs still remain.” He said this prompted him and his team to discuss with the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, who heeded their cry and has now graciously directed all teaching hospitals across the country to treat women with obstetric fistula free of charge. “We believe with the new directive, not less than an additional 7,920 repairs will be done yearly. We see this as a victory for our women who suffer in silence,” he said. “Assuming we have 44 teaching hospitals, and each of them repair 15 women every month, this will amount to 660 repairs, and in one year, it would mean this government’s directive has helped in repairing 7,920 women alone across the country,” he said. Analysing the arithmetic, Efem said if the 7,920 repairs are added to the 5,000 repairs done by Fistula Care Plus and other organisation, it would mean a total of 12,920 repairs are being done yearly, a result, he said would be a step in the right direction in clearing backlogs and reducing the burden of new cases. While commending the Minister of Health, Adewole for making such a bold step, he said Fistula Care Plus would continue to champion repairs in the country, adding that they were presently involved in fistula interventions in 12 states, including Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Kano, Bauchi, Oyo, Cross River, Osun, Yobe and Kaduna.