An 82-year-old woman was among 43 victims of Vesico Vagina Fistula (VVF), operated upon by medics of Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), during a 2-weeks medical outreach in Mangu, Plateau State.
VVF is an abnormal fistulous tract extending between the bladder (vesica) and the vagina which allows the continuous involuntary discharge of urine into the vaginal vault.
Vaginal fistulas can be upsetting and embarrassing because they leak and cause bad smells.
The most common cause of VVF is usually an injury to the bladder at the time of birth.
“The 82-year-old woman had lived with the uncontrollable urine leakage for more than 50 years before undergoing the surgery that halted it,” Prof. Edmund Banwat, Chief Medical Director of JUTH, said on Sunday in Jos.
He said that other victims included a nine-year-old girl who also went under the knife to halt the urine leakage that had been her lot for years.
Banwat said that the medical outreach was carried out in conjunction with “Safe Motherhood Partners,’’ a group of professionals, adding that 48 women came out of which 43 undertook the surgery to repair the VVF.
“Generally, that surgical operation costs more than N200,000 per one, but we undertook it free,’’ Banwat said.
He attributed the medical condition to obstructed birth or labour, but suspected harmful cultural and traditional practices in the case of the nine-year-old girl.
“In the case of the nine-year-old girl, we suspect she may be a victim of harmful cultural practices like genital mutilation,’’ he said.
The Chief Medical Director said that JUTH was creating more awareness on the disease so as to check its prevalence and mobilise those already affected to seek prompt medical attention.
Medical statistics obtained indicated that the incidence of VVF has continued to be high in Nigeria in spite of awareness of VVF worldwide.
There are between 400,000 to 800,000 women currently living with VVF in Nigeria, a figure believed to be the highest in the world.
Available records also indicate that nearly 20,000 new cases occur annually, with 90 per cent untreated.