Nigeria needs funding to continue fistula programme

The United States Agency for International Development has said it needs more money to tackle the fistula problem in Nigeria.

Project Manager for the group Iyeme Efem said the Ogoja centre in Cross River State has treated 129 patients so far, but there are many women waiting for aid and as a result the centre is now overstretched.

A total of 60 million Nigeria dollars (£236,000) is spent maintaining the Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) Centre, but he wants local and state authorities to fund an expansion, as well as basic improvements.

Mr Efem said that simple additions, such as clean water and electricity, could help staff at the centre treat more women.

Professor Oladosu Ojengbede - who conducts surgery at the clinic - thanked the local media for highlighting the plight of fistula patients, but urged women's groups in the country to continue to address the problem.

The 2008 Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey revealed that two million women in developing nations are living with the condition, with between 50,000 and 100,000 new cases recorded each year.

Although the VVF clinic programme in Nigeria has made substantial progress, many women in Africa are still reluctant to reveal their condition because of the fear of rejection and stigmatisation.

Posted by Carla Mackenzie