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Minister performs fistula surgery in Osun


• 33 women scheduled for repair in the state, as Health Ministry, EngenderHealth and Osun state government commence fistula repair intervention program

The Minister (sitting) with other surgeons at the operating theatre

ILESHA, OSUN STATE – The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, today donned his professional toga as a professor of gynaecology and obstetrics and joined a team of surgeons to perform fistula surgeries as the Federal Ministry of Health, in partnership with EngenderHealth, implementing partners of USAID fistula Care Plus project, and Osun state government, flagged off a fistula repair intervention program at Wesley Guild Hospital Unit, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex, Ilesha, Osun State.

The surgical repairs which is the first of its kind in Osun state, had about 33 women scheduled for repair during a week long fistula repair with the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, as part of the surgical team.

Fistula is a hole that develops between the birth canal and one or more of a woman’s internal organs due to prolonged labour or other factors associated with child birth.

Speaking at the ceremony, Prof. Adewole, announced plans to open more fistula centres in the state, with Wesley Guild hospital as one of the centres of excellence for fistula repairs in the country.

“We will make Wesley Guild a Federal Medical Centre and a centre of excellence for fistula intervention, to show equity in distribution of health care in the country. We will make fistula repairs one of our cardinal issues this year. We’re also planning on free cancer screening for breast cancer and postate cancer. We need a crop of seasoned people ready to operate on these cases. Fistula is an indicator of poverty which is why we intend to clear this backlog cases.

The health minister who expressed worry about the large number of women living with fistula, said the ministry intends to clear up the large number of backlog of fistula cases in Nigeria.

“There’s need to close the gap and clear the backlog, which is why we intend to open up more centres across the country. When you invest in health, you get more returns”, he said.

Osun State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, Prof. Adwole and Chief Iyeme Efem, Country Project Manager, Engender health at the flag off ceremony in Ilesha.

In his speech, Governor of Osun State, Governor Rauf Aregbesola, expressed appreciation to the USAID fistula care plus project, for the initiative. The governor who was represented by the Deputy Governor of Osun State, Chief Mrs. Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, said the program underscores the importance APC government and Osun State has put on health.
“This ministry has made poverty eradication, women empowerment to be of utmost importance”, she said.

In his remark, The Country Project Manager, Engender health, Chief Iyeme Efem, said; “Part of the mandate we have from USAID, and the government of Nigeria is to ensure that we bring services closer to the people as it relates to fistula repairs. Presently we have backlog cases in Nigeria of about 200,000 cases, with about 12,000 new cases occurring yearly. This is why we initiated the ‘unlocking potential program strategies’, where we have expert surgeons come and repair fistula cases through a pooled effort.

We decided that we will select certain areas and do a massive mobilization and a pool effort which will bring these women out. This will serve as some form of criteria that will enable us open new centres in these areas.

“So, that’s what happened in Osun State. We had a discussion with the minister, we told him we will like to open a centre in Osun, and he was up for it. He said if we do a good effort he wouldn’t mind coming in to do a repair. As at today, 33 women have been admitted, the hospital only has 28 beds so we have to move the rest to Oyo to continue the repairs because we can’t send them back.

“We also learnt that there are many who want to come but they don’t have money, so we are going to work with the social work team to find them, move them to other location or reschedule them for next time when we come back to Osun”.

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