Mrs Gloria Palmer, speaking on behalf of the Centre for West African Studies (CWAS) unit at the college of Birmingham Link, said that VVF is a socio cultural problem with gender relations. VVF she said has many causes and some of these include the menstrual age, early marriage and stunted growth.
Mrs Palmer noted since 2006 they have been educating the public about VVF and constructive surgeries have been done on regular basis with the support of Mercy Ships.
Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) is also doing its own bit, including the Bo government hospital which has a big fistula ward.
In Bo, she explained that they have established an adult literacy center where VVF patients are given skills training in jewelry making.
Mrs Palmer said that VVF is a hidden disability which is seen as a woman’s problem. She said that men should empathize with their wives with VVF and their families should also support them.
In Magburuka she said has trained 100 Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) on VVF and cautioned them that they refer all cases of obstructed labor to the hospital where caesarean operations can be done to prevent fistula developing and save the baby. She said they also cautioned them to stop late referral of VVF cases.
Mrs Palmer stated that education is key to eradicate VVF problem, adding that they have been sensitizing the public about this and asking women in the rural areas to come out with such problem. For every three months, she said over 30 to 40 patients are coming for surgery, adding that some VVF are curable and some are not, depending on their stages.
By Abibatu Kamara