By Habibu Harisu
Goronyo (Sokoto State) Oct. 15, 2020 Hajia Mariya Tambuwal, the wife of Sokoto state governor, on Thursday inaugurated the rehabilitated fistula operating theatre and patient ward in Goronyo General Hospital in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the centre is part of a comprehensive programme of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) toward promoting increased access to fistula care for indigent patients.
UNFPA, with funding from Global Affairs Canada, is implementing a three-year project on “Addressing Gaps in Gender-Based Violence and Harmful Traditional Practices in Nigeria”.
Tambuwal, in a speech at the ceremony, attributed rising fistula cases to prolong obstructed labour and poor access to quality healthcare during child birth.
She said that Sokoto was among the states with the lowest reproductive health indices in Nigeria with estimated maternal mortality of more than 2,000 per 100,000 live births.
According to her, about 71 per cent of pregnant women in the state do not seek antenatal care, with 92.2 percent of the women delivering at home.
She added that less than 10 per cent had access to skilled birth attendants which expose them to risk of maternal death as well as complications, including fistula.
The governor’s wife said that a similar project was inaugurated in March 2020 at the Maryam Abacha Women and Children Hospital in Sokoto metropolis.
She explained that the laudable efforts had broadened the two facilities’ capacity to be among the largest in the northern states of the country and ease access to fistula care.
Tambuwal commended the donor agency for the gesture and urged other bodies to emulate UNFPA’s efforts toward uplifting public health.
In a remark, UNFPA representative at the occasion, Oluwayi Adelugba, said that the goal of the project was to reduce the prevalence of Gender-Based Violence (GBV), early child and forced marriage, obstetric fistula and female genital mutilation.
Adelugba said that the project would create an enabling environment and provide treatment and care for affected women and girls in Bauchi, Oyo and Sokoto States.
She added that the project entailed the provision of essential medical equipment and kits as well as the training of healthcare workers on the management of obstetric fistula.
”UNFPA supports the fistula programme in Sokoto State with the aim of restoring the dignity of women and girls living with obstetric fistula and preventing fistula.
”UNFPA appreciates the contribution of Sokoto State Government, especially its continued collaboration toward ending preventable maternal deaths and ending the unmet need for family planning.
”We are also impressed with the state’s efforts toward ending gender-based violence and all harmful practices, including child marriage and female genital mutilation.
”UNFPA reiterates its commitment to ensuring that every pregnancy is wanted, every child birth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
”UNFPA is fully committed to the Federal Government of Nigeria’s vision of becoming a country free of Obstetric Fistula by 2030,” She said.
Alhaji Bashir Gidado-Jegawa, the state’s Commissioner of Budget and Planning, said that N7 million was expended to upgrade the centre, while N40 million went into purchasing equipment.
Gidado-Jegawa reiterated government’s commitment to enhancing public health and assured UNFPA that Gov Aminu Tambuwal would continue to provide counterpart funding in order to achieve targeted goals.
Alhaji Zakari Shinaka, Chairman, Goronyo Local Government, while thanking the state government and the UNFPA for the facility, said that it would enhance access to quality medical care in the area.
NAN reports that the event was attended by wives of Deputy Governor, Speaker, Sokoto State House of Assembly and Secretary to the State Government.
Others at the venue were women groups and many others.