By Habibu Harisu
Sokoto – Extended Hands Foundation, an NGO, has sponsored the treatment of 25 Vestico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) patients at the Maryam Abacha Women and Children Hospital, Sokoto.
Dr Bello Lawal, the Hospital’s Chief Medical Director (CMD), told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Sokoto, that the beneficiaries underwent complex fistula surgery conducted by specialist doctors.
Lawal said that the gesture was offered this month, noting that the organisation had promised to assist more people in future.
He urged public-spirited Nigerians and corporate bodies to emulate the NGO and sponsor such initiatives.
The chief medical director explained that prolonged labour during child birth remained the source of VVF and not early marriage as being misconstrued by many people.
Lawal said that in spite of efforts by governments, donor agencies and organisations on treatment of VVF patients, a high percentage of patients remained untreated.
He said that the hospital, which served as VVF centre for the past 21 years, offered routine fistula surgeries every Wednesday and Thursday of the week.
The chief medical director said that the hospital also collaborated with donor agencies, NGOs and other institutes to conduct surgeries at various times and such services were referred to as “Full Efforts’’.
He said after treatment, patients were referred to the skill empowerment training centre, also within the hospital, to learn a vocation before integrating them back into their respective communities.
“The Fistula year is being observed between September and October annually and in 2018 Fistula Year, no fewer than 230 patients accessed surgeries,’’ Lawal said.
He said that Sokoto State Government ensured disbursement of monthly financial subvention to the hospital which enabled it sustain the programmes.
The chief medical director explained that the state government also upgraded the theatre, “making it up to standard and at present it is among the few best fistula theatres in the country’’.
He said that five consultants were engaged for services in the hospital including a renowned neurological surgeon and former Chief Medical Director of Usman Danfodio University Teaching Hospital (UDUTHS) , Dr Yakubu Ahmad.
Lawal said that 12 staff nurses were sent for intensive care training at UDUTHS to manage fistula patients in the hospital.
The chief medical director said that talk was in progress with University Hospital London to use the centre as world fistula and related training centre.
He was hopeful that by the end of the year, the Memorandum of Understanding (Mou) would have been signed to that effect.