By Caleb Ayansina
ABUJA – Vesico Vaginal Fistula is an abnormal hole between the bladder or rectum and the vagina characterized by continuous and uncontrollable leakage of urine and/or faeces following childbirth. Obstructed labour without timely intervention is by far the most common cause of obstetric fistula.
With this great number of women suffering from this health nightmare, it indeed becomes a great phenomenon that must be addressed in the ‘Great People, Great Nation’ country, Nigeria.This phenomenon has reached a stage where all well meaning individuals, be it citizens of Nigeria or foreigners need to rise up to tackle the problem wholeheartedly.
Surprisingly, as critical as the situation is, majority of Nigerians are still ignorant of the disease (VVF). When it happens to their colleagues or relatives or even wife, they see it as a sign of punishment from their ‘gods’, or a reward for a promiscuous woman.
This development propelled a celebrated Nollywood Actress, Stephanie Linus and the Fistula Care Plus Nigeria, with the support of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to premier a move; ‘Dry’ to narrate the ordeal faced by women, majority of whom are from the northern part of the country.
The Move revealed child/early marriage, religious beliefs which prevent pregnant women from accessing medical care (antenatal) and obnoxious cultures that forced them to resort to use of traditional way of delivery, as major causes of Vesico Vagina Fistula (VVF).
Dry is an inspirational movie based on a true story about Zara and Halima who find themselves in the same cultural trap regardless of their backgrounds. They struggled to make meaning to their lives.
Speaking during the premiere at Silverbird Cinema in Abuja, the country manager of Fistula Care Plus Nigeria, Dr. Habib Sadauki and Nollywood Actress, Stephanie Linus stressed the need to improve on primary health care system in the country.
Sadauki said; “We are at a critical time in Nigeria, where we can make even greater impact so that more women living with fistula can be treated. We also must help prevent fistula from happening in the first place.”
In a separate remark, Stephanie explained that women were going through a lot in the country, but sometimes people pretend not to see their situations, stressing for a collective effort to address the problem.
According to her, the culture has relegated them to the background, takes away their voice and right to life as human beings. The culture has made them to be like objects of exchange for wealth/money, sold into slavery for sexual pleasure and baby making purpose.
“When your childhood; your innocence is taken away from you, you can never get it back. Allow them to be children, so that they can make positive decisions about what happens to their body, what happens to their lives, and they will become more productive.