Some survivors of Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) in Kaduna said on Wednesday that their lives had been transformed after treatment and rehabilitation.
VVF, commonly known as obstetric fistula, is a hole between the vagina and rectum or bladder, and is caused by prolonged obstructed labour leaving a woman with uncontrolled urine, faeces or both.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews that their lives have become better after rehabilitation.
One of them, Mrs Hauwa’u Umar, said she was now making a living in the fashion industry by sewing clothes for residents of her Tirkania area in Kaduna metropolis.
Umar said she learned tailoring at the VVF Rehabilitation Centre in Gambo Sawaba General Hospital, Zaria, after the surgery and treatment.
She said that after the training, sewing machines and other starter packs were donated to the survivors by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to provide a means of livelihood.
Narrating her ordeal, Umar said that she was 19 when she got married and became pregnant in the second year of marriage.
“I was going for antenatal care but when it was time to deliver, I was not taken to the hospital based on the erroneous belief that I will deliver by myself at home.
“I was in labour for almost two days before my parents insisted I should be taken to the hospital where I eventually delivered but with complications due to the prolonged labour.
“I noticed I was urinating and stooling uncontrollably. I could not walk and felt paralysed on my left side in addition to agonising pains on my back,” she said.
Umar said that she had lost all hope in life before she was referred to the VVF Centre at Gambo Sawaba General Hospital, Zaria, where she was treated and rehabilitated for three months.
According to her, life has never been this good considering that before the condition, she was simply a housewife who depended on her husband and family for virtually everything she needed.
“For me, the VVF condition was a blessing in disguise because I am now financially independent.
“Having experienced firsthand, “a light after the tunnel”, I have become a VVF patient’s tracker, and refer them to the VVF centre in Zaria to get treated.
“I can say that I am not only reintegrated back to my community, but I have become even more popular and highly respected due to the transformation that have taken place in my life,” she said.
Another survivor and mother of three, Mrs Saude Idris, who also developed the condition due to prolonged labour, said: “life became grim when I began urinating and stooling uncontrollably.
“I was told I am beyond redemption because there is no cure for my condition. I was left alone, with people staying away from me due to the oozing smell from my body.
“I was living a life of agony until Mr Hauwa’u Umar tracked me down and told me she was once in my condition, but she got healed.
“She convinced my husband and took me to the VVF centre where I was also treated and rehabilitated.”
Idris, also a resident of Tirkania, said that she was now living a life of purpose, reaching out to others in similar conditions to encourage and give them hope.
Similarly, Mrs Victoria Ibrahim of Kabala West, Kaduna, told NAN that she developed VVF after a Cesarean Section, adding that she was confined in a place for three months because of the condition.
“I heard of the condition over the radio and never thought I would suffer the same fate. I became depressed for three months, helpless and crying most of the time.
“The continued wetness, odour and discomfort was a serious psychological and social problem for me.
“But to God be the glory, I was treated and rehabilitated. My depression is gone, and I got my self-esteem back and live freely without stigmatisation,” she said.
NAN reports that the success stories of the survivors have ignited hope for thousands of VVF survivors awaiting surgery at the VVF centre in Zaria.
One of them, Mrs Zuwaira Iliya from Makarfi in Makarfi Local Government Area of the state, said she was on the waiting list for surgery for about a year.
Iliya said that her mother, who had been her strength and comforter since she developed the condition, had passed away, leaving her all alone while she waited for surgery.
“ I am confident that life will get better once I get treated. I am no longer afraid because of the success stories we kept hearing from those who got treated and now are at home living quality life,” she said. (NAN)