By Chioma Obinna

With over 20 percent cases of Iatrogenic Obstetric Fistula currently recorded in most hospitals across the country, Fistula Surgeons have proposed unlocking potentials of fistula capabilities as key to continuous exposure of trainees to surgical care as well as improve access to uninterrupted treatment and other lateral benefits.

SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCE: From left: VP, International Society of Obstetric Fistula Surgeons, ISOFS, Prof. Oladosu Ojemgbede; Senior Regional Programatic /Technical Advisor, TIPTOP project, JHPIEGO, Nigeria, Prof. Emmanuel Otolorin and Immediate Past Country Project Manager, Fistula Care Plus and the newly elected 1st VP, SOGON National, Dr. Habib Sadauki, at the opening of the 51st Annual Scientific Conference of the SOGON, in Sokoto last week.

They say the condition is yet to get the desired attention needed.

Speaking in Sokoto during the 51st Annual General Meeting of the Society of Obstetric and Gynaecologists of Nigeria, SOGON, tagged: “Maternal Health & Newborn: Health in a Challenging Economy”, Vice- President of the International Society of Obstetric Fistula Surgeons, ISOFS, Prof Oladosu Ojengbede stressed the need to break barriers of limitations to women’s access to care.

Ojengbede, who lamented that the opportunity to break the barriers of accessing care remains in limbo in Nigeria blamed the challenges on paucity of skilled, empowered and committed surgeons and other human resources.

He identified the daunting challenge of the myths about fistula care and non-financially rewarding nature of services rendered as part of the barriers to care.

Ojengbede said to tackle some of the challenges, his team through collaboration on capacity building with institutions such as Engender Health, Oyo State Ministry of Health have been able to stimulate upcoming surgeons and expand access to comprehensive fistula care in the state.

He said the Genito-Urinary Medicine and Urogynaecology, GUU, Division Department Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College Ibadan an accredited FIGO Centre for training Obstetric Fistula and Pelvic floor reconstruction is providing innovative mentorship to Adeoye Maternity Hospital secondary specialist health facility in Oyo State

Ojendegbe explained that the innovation has opened up interesting dimension to quality care in the state.  “Right now, there is drastic reduction of cost of care, reduction of awaiting patient, waiting time and provide opportunity for skills transfer.  The collaboration has reduced backlog of patients in the state due to routine surgeries and pooled efforts organized by these partners.”

A Trainee Fistula Surgeon, from the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, Dr. Fatimat Akinlusi, stressed the need for more fistula surgery training to reverse the sufferings of women,

Akinlusi noted that partnership with secondary health facilities would help reduce time, cost and improve coverage as well as ensure patient satisfaction and to  stimulate interest of surgeons to promote mentorship.

Another Trainee from the Adeoye Maternity Hospital, Dr. Doyin Bello from the University College Hospital, Ibadan, said obstetric fistula elimination is demanding and requires interest and commitment.

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