Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, said it has successfully performed 6,000 Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) repairs and 90,000 deliveries in Jigawa State since 2008. The organisation’s medical operations senior manager, Marie-Hortense Koudika, disclosed this while addressing journalists after a three-day workshop in Abuja.
VVF is an obstetric complication causing an abnormal hole between the bladder and vagina, resulting in uncontrolled, continuous leakage of urine through the vagina. The condition, which is often associated with childbirth complications, has left many women depressed as they suffer several physical, psychosocial and economic problems.
Meanwhile, Koudika said the MSF in collaboration with the Jigawa State government has been managing medical activities in Jahun General Hospital (JGH) since 2008 in emergency obstetrics, newborn care, VVF care rehabilitation as well as sexual violence. She said the partnership with the Jigawa State Ministry of Health has led to intervention in 18,000 C-sections, 143,000 hospitalisations and 19,000 newborn admissions in the state.
Koudika said, “MSF started its intervention in Jahun General Hospital in 2008 with Obstetrical Fistula repair. Obstetric fistula is one of the most serious and dangerous injuries that can occur during childbirth. It is a perforation between the vagina and the bladder and/or rectum, caused by prolonged labour and occurring in the absence of prompt, high-quality obstetric care.”
According to her, based on the need and identified gaps over the years, the project was expanded to provide Comprehensive Emergency Maternal Obstetrics and Neonatal Care in JGH; and since 2016, MSF has been supporting four Primary Health Centre facilities in Jahun, Aujara, Miga and Taura, for basic emergency maternal obstetrics and neonatal care.
“The reduction of morbidity and mortality is a joint effort involving traditional and religious authorities, civil society, the Jigawa health authorities, and international partners to facilitate preventive measures and access to care and to empower pregnant women to decide on their care path with medical and community health actors.
“Working in partnership is key, health is everyone’s business and there are so many needs. The participation of high-level officials shows the authorities take these problems seriously and there is political will to make a difference for women’s health in Jigawa State,” she added. The commissioner for Health in the state, Dr Muhammed Kainuwa, decried the rate of maternal mortality in the state, saying it is unacceptable. However, he expressed the state government‘s commitment to improved healthcare services for its citizens.
“We are here to discuss and look at the data critically and see how the government of Jigawa State can support MSF to expand the services. We have agreed that we are going to increase the comprehensive emergency obstetric care in general hospitals, we are going to make sure we open the emergency obstetric and neonatal care in 281 PHCs in all the local government areas in the state, and we are going to revitalise our PHCs and commensurate monitors.”
“We have also agreed to provide 24-hour water and power supply through solar to make our rural women have access to obstetric care in conjunction with MSF who will give us the training and expertise for the state to expand on this,” he added.