BY DANIEL IDONOR
THE Federal Government Wednesday resolved to take over Ebonyi State-owned Vesicovaginal Fistula, VVF, centre in Abakaliki.
Rising from the 11th Federal Executive Council, FEC, government said Ebonyi State’s VVF Centre was now to be known as a National Free Standing Center of Excellence for Obstetric Fistula Treatment, Training, Rehabilitation, Prevention and Research Centre.
Council also agreed and resolved that the Centre, when operational as National Free Standing Centre of Excellence for obstetric Fistula treatment, training rehabilitation and research center, would be renamed “Josephine Elechi National VVF Centre, Abakiliki” in honour of the founder and wife of the governor of Ebonyi State.
Briefing State House correspondents, the Minister of Information and Communication, Labaran Maku, and his counterpart in the Ministry of Health, Professor Onyeabuchi Christian Chukwu, also disclosed that one million women were currently living with the disease across the country, adding that the disease was more preponderant in northern states and Ebonyi.
He said VVF was highlighted as a significant public health issue by the UNDP in Abakaliki. Subsequently, the Agency assisted Ebonyi State to establish a VVF Unit within the State University Teaching Hospital in 2001. The unit was upgraded to the free standing Ebonyi State VVF center in 2007, and commissioned in 2008.
According to Maku, “at present, there are 16 centres offering surgical care to only about 4000 fistula women per year, implying that it will take about 250 years to deal with the backlog while ignoring new cases. From 2007 till date, over 743 clients from within and outside the state have benefited from the free services which are supported by the government of Ebonyi State and Partners”.
The Health Minister who shed more light on the center said what makes the center unique was because it was the first stand-alone facility for VVF with 22 beds.
He also said training was going to be linked to federal medical training, research in terms of prevention and management of defects.
“The Federal Government in its decision to attend MDG 5, has insisted everything on women health must be done to ensure its success. With this approval, we can scale up treatment and it will help accelerate the repair of the defects.
“The facility has good rehabilitation center with help from development partners and there are plans to train the VVF patients in vocations of their choice, give them soft loans at the end of the day all geared towards reintegrating them into the society.
“Also, in few weeks from now, the MGDs office will train 80 doctors that will be taking care of VVF patients”, he said