The Fistula Foundation Nigeria on Tuesday said no fewer than 1.2 million women and girls were suffering from Obstetric Fistula (VVF) in the country.

Malam Musa Isa, the Founder and Executive Director of the foundation, said this in Dutse during the graduation of 108 rehabilitated obstetric fistula patients in the state.

Isa said that the foundation had from 2014 to date, rehabilitated the total of 408 VVF patients in the state.

He explained that obstetric fistula was a devastating condition brought about by child birth injury caused when a woman suffered a prolonged or difficult labour, without obtaining the right medical attention.

The executive director added that the baby usually died and the woman was left not only without her child but also with a hole or fistula in her birth canal, resulting in chronic incontinence.

“It is estimated that there are between 400,000  women and 800,000 girls suffering from this condition in Nigeria and the vast majority are in the northern part of the country, including Jigawa.

“We recognize this as a major problem and has planned to work with Jigawa State government through the ministries of health and women  affairs  to improve the lives of women affected by this condition,” he said.

According to him, the foundation, in collaboration with the two ministries, have improved the lives of the fistula women through three pronged activities (prevention, treatment and social reintegration).

Isa pointed out that the foundation’s intervention to rehabilitate and reintegrate the 108 victims of obstetric fistula in 2017, focused on the category of those who suffered the most extensive obstetric trauma up to the level of incurability.

He added that during the three months rehabilitation, all the women had the opportunity to learn various communication techniques so that they might educate the community on the causes of obstetric fistula.

The executive director said the gesture was also to reduce stigmatisation and all forms of isolation from family and the community with economic empowerment training in skills acquisitions.

According to him, their capacity was also built in raising awareness, conducting surveillance, mobilisation and following-up on repaired patients in their respective communities.

“I wish to therefore call on the government of Jigawa State to make free fistula care services a priority.

“So, on behalf of fistula foundation, I wish all the graduating women a very successful reintegration into their various communities,” the executive director said.