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Institute, USAID partner on fistula care, rehabilitation

By Felicia Imohimi
The Institute of Social Works of Nigeria (ISOWN) says it is collaborating with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in providing professional services on fistula care and rehabilitation across the federation.

Mr Yakubu Oni, MOMENTUM Safe Surgery in Family Planning and Obstetrics (MSSFPO) Project Director, said this at the inauguration workshop of the project tagged “Strengthening  Rehabilitation and Reintegration services’’ on Tuesday in Abuja.Virginal fistula is an unusual opening that connects the Virgina to another organ.

Oni said that Obstetric fistula remained a threat to the girl-child and every woman with statistics showing an increasing numbers in cases recorded in spite of tremendous effort of the Federal and State Governments.

Oni said the USAID-funded project would be implemented by ISOWN in five states: Ebonyi, Bauchi, Sokoto, Kebbi and FCT in the first phase.

According to him, ISOWN is expected to provide social work services on the project which includes strengthening rehabilitation and reintegration services, being crucial aspects of the programme.

He described rehabilitation and reintegration services as critical factors that determine holistic intervention in obstetric fistula issues in the country.

“Today’s event is an opportunity to appreciate USAID for the tremendous work it is doing in Nigeria and finding the institute worthy for a second time on this project to provide professional service on the fistula care project,” he said.

Mr Michael Aniekan, the Project Manager, said the event was an engagement with key stakeholders to carry out skill training sessions to achieve status quo analysis on personnel perspective of strengthening rehabilitation and reintegration in identified facilities.

He said, “the programme also provides an opportunity for training of lead experts, fistula care medical desk officers, social work experts, medical social welfare officers and social work educators.”

He added that it was for stakeholders from Federal and State Governments ready to drum support for women and young girls faced with fistula cases with readiness to engage society at different states mapped for intervention.

Dr Kabiru Atta, USAID Country Representative, Engender Health, and Project Manager of MSSFPO project as well as a lead partner, lauded the institute for the synergy.

He, however, urged field officers to stay on the tenets of professionalism in ensuring  they delivered on the set mandates geared toward ending obstetric fistula in Nigeria.

“This onerous task cannot be achieved with isolated efforts; we therefore call on all relevant public and private agencies to join forces in complementing our role in achieving set targets.

“I reiterate the commitment of USAID on the MSSFPO project to ensure prompt delivery for the good of our people,’’ Atta said.

Atta, who affirmed the project had a duration of five years, listed its objective as to ensure that women and girls had access to safe and appropriate caesarian session.

“We want to make sure that we are supporting the Federal Government in prevention and management of obstetrics and virginal fistula and as well working in the area of prevention and management of female genital mutilation and cutting in Nigeria,” he said.

Minister of State for Health Adeleke Mamora urged stakeholders from both Federal and States to support every efforts in addressing the rate of fistula cases in the country.

Mamora, represented by Dr Salma Ibrahim, Director, Family Health in the ministry, said “an average of 3.2 persons per 1,000 from our population is faced with fistula annually.

“Government is set to provide additional fistula care centres across the six geo-political zones in the country.” (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Donald Ugwu

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