If you still believe vesico vaginal fistula (VVF) only challenges women in the North, you are wrong. Women from the southern parts of the country also experience this challenge. This was the startling revelation made recently in Lagos at a four-day free medical screening and surgery programme to help women suffering from VVF. The clinic, which was funded by the United States-based Fistula Foundation, was organised by the Christian Health Association of Nigeria (CHAN), Lagos State chapter, in collaboration with Evangel Vesico Vaginal Fistula Clinic, Bingham University Teaching Hospital, Jos, Plateau State. The clinic held at Hoarse Methodist Cathedral Clinic, Yaba.
The organisers, who acknowledged that they were holding the exercise for the first time in Lagos, said 20 women were screened on the occasion. According to them, two of the 20 women were diagnosed with VVF and were successfully operated upon.
Wikipedia has it that, “Vesico vaginal fistula (VVF) is a subtype of female urogenital fistula (UGF). It is an abnormal fistulous tract extending between the bladder and the vagina that allows the continuous involuntary discharge of urine into the vaginal vault.”
Speaking further on the scourge, CHAN’s Lagos branch chairman, Dr. Abayomi Ogunmekun, the medical superintendent of Hoare’s Methodist Cathedral Clinic, said: “VVF is a case where some women are found to be leaking urine constantly from their vagina because of complications possibly arising from childbirth.
“The thinking that it is only women in the North that suffer VVF is not correct. Complications of child-birth occur in all states of the federation. However, it is peculiar to some tribes because of early child marriage.”
He noted that “there are many cases of VVF in Lagos. And now, instead of women travelling to the North to seek medical attention, this place can be a VVF centre because we have all the facilities to deal with the challenge.
“During this programme, we brought in a VVF specialist, Dr. Sunday Lengmany. He is a master surgeon at Evangel VVF Centre, Jos.”
The medical expert called on women in the South-West to take advantage of the free VVF screening and surgical service now being held at Hoarse Methodist Cathedral Clinic, stating that another edition of the screening would commence at the same venue on December 1, 2019.
He said, “I implore women to take advantage of this free service and the presence of the VVF expert to rid themselves of the embarrassment of living with this complication for life.
“VVF is a pathetic condition because the person might be smelling, might not be able to get pregnant, will be having repeated infections and the complication can affect the kidney, causing kidney failure.”
While assuring women of secrecy of their treatment, he implored them to come out of hiding to get treated, totally free, so as to continue living a normal life.
According to Dr. Lengmany, VVF is avoidable. He encouraged pregnant women to register for antenatal care at competent hospitals, pointing out that competent doctors know what to do when a woman is experiencing prolonged labour.
He also charged parents to discourage early marriage, and everyone in society generally to avoid marrying girls before the age of 18.