Gov Tambuwal’s wife distributes kits to 100 fistula survivors

Wife of Sokoto Governor, Mariya Tambuwal, on Thursday distributed dignity kits(containing hygiene and sanitary items) to 100 fistula survivors in the state.

The items were donated by United Nations Population Funds (UNFPA).

Tambuwal said the plight of fistula patients should be considered by all stakeholders with a view to supporting them toward improved living condition.

She said that her NGO, Mariya Tambuwal Development Initiative (MTDI), was collaborating with the UNFPA Nigeria, with funding from the Canadian Government to support the Sokoto State Government to prevent obstetric fistula through empowerment programmes.

The partnership work on reintegration of fistula survivors into the community and increase awareness for prevention amongst adolescents and women, including supporting pool efforts of fistula repairs in the state.

She said from 2020 to 2021, no fewer than 260 fistula patients underwent free repair surgery, 180 survivors empowered with skills and 120 reintegrated into their communities.

“Also, 365 repaired fistula survivors had free caesarean section to prevent recurrence and maintained their motherhood and dignity in the society since 2016 to date.

“We must collectively work toward ending obstetric fistula as a critical step towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and realising the promise of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

“This is along with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development which both plans are oriented to fight for women’s rights, including the sexual and reproductive health.

“Women’s rights are human rights, yet almost everywhere around the world, women and girls are still denied them, often because of their gender,’’ Tambuwal said.

According to her, obstetric fistula is a tragic sign of prevailing global social injustice and inequity which implies a failure of health systems.

“It is a violation of human rights as reflected by broader health inequities and healthcare system constraints, as well as wider challenges facing women and girls, such as poverty, gender and socio-economic inequality.’’

She added, “Lack of schooling, child marriage and early childbearing all of which impede the well-being of and opportunities for women and girls.

“To end fistula, we must strengthen the health system, eliminate gender-based social and economic inequities; promote girl child education  and foster community participation in finding solutions, including through the active involvement of men as well as seeking the help of fistula survivors as advocates.’’

The wife of the governor said that fistula was preventable when women and girls have timely access to quality comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services.

She commended UNFPA, Fistula Foundation, HPI and other supporting organisation for their kind consideration to vulnerable fistula patients.

Also contributing, Mrs Gloria Enueze, the UNFPA Programme Officer in Sokoto noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had further revealed and deepened pre-existing inequalities, exposing vulnerabilities in social and economic systems which in turn amplified the impacts of the pandemic.

Enueze said women and girls at risk of or living with fistula faced structural and systemic barriers to care before the pandemic.

According to her, patients continue to face intersecting forms of discrimination based on their health status, disability, marital status, education and socio-economic status which may further widen the gap of inequality.

She expressed UNFPA’s continued commitment to supporting fistula patients toward enhancing their lives.

Also speaking, Hajia Zainab Yabo, the Sokoto State Fistula Programme Coordinator said the Fistula foundation had provided Hijab,  a head covering worn in public by some Muslim women and T-shirts to fistula patients while MTDI cater for logistic and refreshments.

A cross-section of the fistula survivors lauded the governor’s wife and UNFPA for their support.


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