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of the women who cannot "hold it in"

I was reading recently about the plights of women especially in northern nigeria who are plagued by the inability to "hold in"their urine,a condition otherwise known a vesicovaginal fistula(vvf).
Its a really terrible and dehumanizing medical condition which is virtually non existent in the western world but still a threat in our faces.
I also read that the commonest cause of this condition is obstetric.that is,acquired in the process of a difficult labour.

I met a woman who I'll call shayo.she's a 30yr old woman who has just one child but has this terrible condition which has lead to her abandonement by her husband who couldn't stand the fact that his wife was always constantly leaking urine and smelling of it,regardless of the fact that she got this condition after three days of labour and after being improperly managed at the private hospital she was taken to before she was eventually taken to a tertiary hospital.

Thank goodness her child is alive,but she eventually had vvf.
Hers was duly repaired after some time and thus has a chance again at a normal life.But,how about hundreds of other women who haven't been able to access healthcare for this condition,living as outcasts who's urine smell is offensive to all around them?most of them being teenagers who were given out in marriage at 10yrs,11yrs,12yrs!

Let's help them.let's give a voice to their plight!
Thank you.

Comments

Tosin's picture

VVF and government

A brilliant write-up,madam, VVF is one of the major problems of the northern women in Nigeria, it is nice you are vocing out for these women, Bisola.it has been unsolved since I990 when Hadiya Amina Sambo discovered it in kano in1985.Different NGOs especially NCWS tried to help these victims but it's a pity, it is still a dominant problem. The Nigerian government have been on vvf since 1990 and no reasonable solution has been provided, the VVF taskforce was founded but nothing came out of the force. There is an urgent need for reliable helplines for these women,it's about saving a woman's life and pride.

Abisinuola's picture

Thank you! You are so right

Thank you!
You are so right about the situation of things...it is said that there are 400,000-500,000 cases per annum but the vvf dedicated centres only perform 500-1500 vvf surgeries per annum!
What then happens to the remaining hundreds of thousands?
Also,as prevention is better tan cure,there are a lot of things that can be done with respect to the topic at hand;the first of which is totally eradicating child marriage!

Abisinuola

Tosin's picture

Sometimes I think the

Sometimes I think the government are handicap because neglecting these women's uncalled for.if only some of the funds diverted to entertainment and president's kitchen can be used to save these women.
Actually, child marriage might be difficult to eradicate becos the lawmakers are involved. Remember, the north has the largest vote in the House, these are the mallams involved in child marriage.I think the first step is re-orientation of the northerners before anything becos the islamic law allow child-marriage.

Abisinuola's picture

Now that's a big battle,but

Now that's a big battle,but it can be won...but these people need to see the insanity in child marriage!vvf is just one of the myriads of problems they face!!
And one question to ask these honourables/senators is this:how many of their own children have they given out in marriage as teenagers?because we watch their high profile weddings on NTA every sunday and nono of those brides are underaged!let them answer!

And as for funds,it doesn't take so much money to get these women the cure they need!just have a decent hospital and a couple of willing doctors!

Abisinuola

JaniceW's picture

Fistula

Most fistulas are caused by the pressure of the baby’s head damaging the delicate tissue of the birth canal during childbirth and leaves a hole between the birth canal and the bladder or rectum. But it also can be caused by sexual violence. Fortunately, it can be repaired and the woman can go on to lead a normal life.

Ikirimat wrote a compelling article about women in Uganda who suffer from this condition.
http://worldpulse.com/node/50500

In looking at how you can help women such as Shayo, you might like to connect with PulseWire member Brooke who co-founded Hope for Our Sisters, Inc. (www.hopeforoursisters.org) which raises awareness and support for girls and women living with this condition. You can find her at the below link.
http://worldpulse.com/node/61871

You might be also interested in the Fistula Foundation that provides surgery to women in many African countries.
http://www.fistulafoundation.org/

Abisinuola's picture

Thank you so much

Thank you so much @janiceW.you've been so helpful.
I'll make sure to use the links you've shared

Abisinuola

VITSAF's picture

Beautifully written

Beautifully written Abisinuola, this is one issue I have always pondered on especially thinking about me at that age and the challenges they face, I cam in contact with discrimination, rejection, stigma at the peak of my life and that has really taught me empathy..
I personally think that the foundation approach to this problem is working with religious leaders and parents, its kind of normal for girls to marry at that age in those areas so the girls are helpless, but their parents and community leaders. When they understand and each start protecting their own, am sure there may be a significant improvement.

Its really sad and really needs all targeted strategic enlightenment and awareness programs.

Improving the Quality of Life of individuals (primarily women) living with vitiligo, skin imperfections altered images and autoimmune disorder!

www.vitsaf.org
www.25june.org
https://www.facebook.com/WorldVitiligoDay
https://www.facebook.com/groups/

Abisinuola's picture

Thanks @vitsaf,wonderfully

Thanks @vitsaf,wonderfully thought out!
I absolutely agree with you.the change should start from the powers that be in each and every community.
Talking about empathy,I have faced my own share of rejection and being treated as an outcast too..I will write about it someday.maybe you should write yours too,it might help somebody.
Welldone!

Abisinuola

VITSAF's picture

I sure will, all I work on

I sure will, all I work on revolves around that. I am getting on here gradually.

Welldone

Improving the Quality of Life of individuals (primarily women) living with vitiligo, skin imperfections altered images and autoimmune disorder!

www.vitsaf.org
www.25june.org
https://www.facebook.com/WorldVitiligoDay
https://www.facebook.com/groups/

Abisinuola's picture

Ohk then! Keep it up!welldone

Ohk then!
Keep it up!welldone

Abisinuola

aanurot's picture

One of many issues women face

Abisinuola, "born into wealth", appreciate you for bringing this issue into discussion. VVF is not only peculiar to Northern Nigeria, but the country - Nigeria as a whole and one of the many issues faced by a woman. There are reported cases of VVF in some south eastern states. Recently, I was opportunity to watch a program on the establish of a centre in one SE state, which was adopted a national centre from the NGO by the federal ministry of health. Beyond repair efforts should be made to reduce it's prevalence and mitigate factors that contribute to it's occurrence. Parents especially mother should be empowered to take stand that will protect daughters from early marriages, to do this the voice of the unheard woman must be heard and her right protected.

Abisinuola's picture

thank you!

Aanurot,for the name translation.lool
You are right ma'am..change begins from the family,then the comunity and so on.
And the change is here too,on world pulse,with so many women taking up others' concerns with singleness of purpose..we can be rest assured that the solution is right around the corner

Abisinuola

That is very sad. Medical care among other issues women face is a huge problem throughout the world. I remember when I was pregnant, it was one of the best times of my life. Even after having my baby, I felt like she was the best thing that ever could happen to me. Shortly after I became sick and lost much of my breast milk but I was able to recover because of the follow up medical care received, rest, and support from friends and family. All women should be able to be confident that physical and mental problems that they experience can be treated. We give life and for that our own has to be cared for so that we can continue to care for the little lives that grow up into big people.

I am a firm believer that how you feel on the inside shows on the outside. Their husband's leaving them had to be hurtful and among other things disappointing. The reason why they are suffering is from the complex issues rose from giving birth which the husband had no physical burden in carrying during the whole 10 months. For that they should have compassion and honor her, not leave because of a medical condition she has no control over. They say a when a women gives birth she has one foot in life and the other in death. Every mother should be honored, loved, and respected. It is unfortunate that it is not like that and similar to a plague, throughout the world women are not being received in a honorable way.

Abisinuola, has there been any programs put in place for family counseling or guidance? I know Nigeria is facing other difficulties that are priority. In the United States, there are a generous amount of people who do not use family services because they feel embarrassed or feel like it is an interference/prying into their business.

Thank you for bringing awareness to this subject.

Best

Rochelle

Abisinuola's picture

Thanks rochelle,we do have

Thanks rochelle,we do have some community health physicians that provide some form of awareness but this isn't enough and not enough families are being reached.
I believe more can be doing making use of the mass media.
And you have said it all,every deserves to be honored,pampered and cared for esp in childbirth and after.

Abisinuola

jam_them's picture

VVF...Man's inhumanity to man.

I am so happy to read responses on VVF.I have been on the VVF project in Evangel Hospital,Jos Nigeria, for the past 20yrs.Gone are the days when the cause of VVF is said to be early marriage and the disease of Northerner Nigeria.There is VVF in all parts of Nigeria.VVF is no respecter of age and class in the society.Lets take a look at early marriage.In the developed world ,even in Nigeria ,we have heard of girls as young as 12-15yrs given birth without VVF.Why is that so?its simply adequate obstetric care.Having access to health care facility that is well equipped and affordable.What is my point here? VVF can be eradicated with good commitment from Government through the provision of such health facilities.How long can we continue talking on the cure? Last year ,Evangel Hospital did 399 surgeries! just a small fraction of the waiting lot.There is need to work on prevention and rehabilitation.
The Federal Government of Nigeria has risen to the occasion by coming up with a document towards the eradication of VVF.Whether this comes to life is yet another issue.It is said that a problem known is half solved.
VVF is indeed man's inhumanity to man.The victims are abandoned by their spouse and the community.A small percentage are supported by their spouses through treatment.They end up at home with their parents who try all means to get their daughters cured.In some communities ,the victims can't trade ,because no one will buy from them.In Evangel Hospital,we have had patients that leaked urine for 40 years!!!! Can you imagine a day leaking urine ?This woman leaked urine for over 14,600 days! She got healed ,but,cannot conceive.Those that are lucky ,get pregnant and are delivered through CS free of charge.Our main source of funding is CBM.Unfortunately,the partnership ends this year.This means if no donor comes to the aid of the center,it would have to fold up.May i add here that all services are free in the VVF center.The patients are given free surgery,drugs,accomodation and feeding.We just had the center's reunion last weekend.We had over 300 in attendance.I will post the pictures of the reunion.I will be glad to have suggestions on how to fund the center .

Together our future is bright

Abisinuola's picture

great job@jam_them

Well done for d wonderful job you've been doing at your vvf centre.God bless and strengthen you.amen

I do agree with you on the fact that other young teens have successfully given birth;but I still choose to stand by my point of view that early marriage is more of a curse than a blessing.

As for sourcing for funds,u could try the government especially local&state govts.you could also write to rich individuals soliciting for their support.
Then an online platform wouldn't be such a bad idea,asking ppl to contribute even #100.just imagine 1000 ppl giving #100 each!it will surely go a long way.

Peace

Abisinuola

jam_them's picture

Yes woo!!

Thanks for your contribution on fundraising.I will work on the online system.
Early marriage is indeed a curse for girls.It cuts short educational pursuits and exposes them to related health hazards like VVF.While the underlying cause of VVF is prolonged labour,it differ from one part of the country to the other.I northern Nigeria ,its early marriage.In Plateau it is the difficult terrain which makes medical facility inaccessible.Other causes are affordable,inviolability and well equipped medical facilities.It is my believe that if the issue of good faculty is taken care of,VVF prevalence will be greatly reduced.

Together our future is bright

Abisinuola's picture

You are welcome my

You are welcome my sister.
Yes,you are right...improved medical infrastructures and personnel will go a long way in preventing this condition.
I'm glad that so much is being done already in my community concerning this via the PHCs.
Peace,

Abisinuola

Greengirl's picture

Abisinuola

Imagine that the condition known as VVF which was discovered in our dear country and brought to public attention as far back as 1985 is taking it's toll on the lives of women and girls till date. It is sad to note that such an avoidable and treatable medical condition still defies total eradication. The problem is multifaceted and requires an integrated solution. You will agree with me that there is a political, social, economic and religious dimension to this problem. The need therefore for our Government to have the political will to fight it headlong cannot be overemphasized.

An integrated approach that will tackle the root cause(s) and also promote preventive and curative measures should be adopted.

Thank you for sharing.

Olanike

Abisinuola's picture

yes ma'am

Tackling this meanace is multidimensional
Good thing is that the Primary health centres are now learning to quickly identify and refer to tertiary centres cases of obstructive labor which is the chief culprit here.
More is yet to be done,especially in training traditional birth attendants and eliminate various risky practices.
Thank you ma

Abisinuola

Monica09's picture

Enlightening post

Dear Abisinuola,

Prior to this post, I had no idea how such a condition can be the cause of so much misery for a woman in Nigeria. Thanks for creating awareness on this issue for your country's perspective. I also feel your post highlights an important but largely overlooked or unknown link between access to healthcare and gender-based injustice (abandonment in this case).

Warm regards,
Monica

Abisinuola's picture

dear monica

Vvf is really a distressing condition;I don't have the facts but I don't think its exclusive to nigeria alone...but true,abandonment isn't the solution neither is it an option!
Thank you sister!

Abisinuola

Maya Norton's picture

Thank you for bringing a

Thank you for bringing a personal perspective to this difficult and seldom talked about issue, Beezy.

~ Maya

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