PRESS RELEASE: Permanent Secretary attributes lack of public awareness as major cause of obstetrics fistula condition.

PRESS RELEASE:  Permanent Secretary attributes lack of public awareness as major cause of obstetrics fistula condition.

PRESS RELEASE: Permanent Secretary attributes lack of public awareness as major cause of obstetrics fistula condition.

The Permanent Secretary made this known in her remarks at the end of the project learning and dissemination meeting of USAID Momentum Safe Surgery in Family Planning  and Obstetrics  held on Tuesday 11 June 2024, in Abuja.

Daju Kachollom, who was represented by the Director Family Health of the Ministry, Dr. Binyerem Ukaire, added that most of the patients live in hard-to-reach areas where they find it difficult to access medical facilities on time.

She further stated that fistula patients live under cultural circumstances that shade them from public view, in addition to little or no education,  lack of influence and are isolated. 

The Permanent Secretary said that the continuous obstetric fistula cases in low resource settings is one of the visible indicators gaps in maternal care between developed and developing world and subsequent gaps in quality of health and general health system.

She explained that the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has collaborated with the project in areas of safe and surgical obstetrics cases, such as female genital mutilation, prevention management, including gender-based violence in addition to the treatment of over one thousand obstetrics fistula cases, at the project support facilities and thousands of health workers trained on obstetric surgery, prevention and treatment.

The collaboration also resulted to the development of National training manual for Doctors and Nurses as well as provision of data dashboard, client trackers and physiotherapist.

In her welcome remarks, a member of Engender Health Board, Prof. Clara Ejembi, lamented that 40% of the global burden of fistula cases are in Nigeria adding that according to Bill Gate, Nigeria has one-third maternal death, expressing delight that fistula patients escape death.

She further cried out that partners are not supporting fistula case project adding that it is also been marginalized in the entire health sector.

Prof. Ejembi while commending Momentum Safe Surgery in Family Planning and Obstetrics for their 3-year projects in five states of the federation, which are Sokoto, Kebbi, Ebonyi, Bauchi and FCT, also thanked the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the affected States Ministry of Health for their support to the success of the project.

Presenting on the projects achievements, challenges and lessons learned, the Country Project Manager, Dr. Kabiru Attah, pointed out that 3074 health workers were trained on the obstetrics surgery and treatment in addition to 2350 cases referred to emergency obstetrics care.

He added that 1,500 fistula patients benefitted from surgeries, 43 project spotted facilities, 14,143 cesarean cases, 1,443 surgical  repairs and 123 non-surgical as parts of the achievements of the projects within three years exercise as well as the development of cesarean delivery data dash board.

Dr. Kabir, further highlighted that some of the challenges faced by the project are creation of awareness and information dissemination at state levels, low visibility of fistula, policy implementation and program coordination.

Attah, therefore called for more engagement with the sub-national policy platform, more investment in pre-service education program and pursuance of decentralization of fistula surgical training.

In her closing remarks, the Director Family Health, Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Binyerem Ukaire, represented by the Assistant Director Jumbo Henry, expressed happiness on the contribution of all stakeholders in the project, calling for more partners to collaborate with the Ministry to end fistula among Nigerians.



Patricia Deworitshe

Director (Information & PR)