The United Nations Population Fund Agency (UNPFA) has donated fistula equipment worth millions of naira to Pope John 11 Family Life Center/Vesico Vaginal Fistula (V.V.F) Hospital, Mbribit Itam, Itu local government area, Akwa Ibom state.

The Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Mr. Akan Okon who affirmed the donation at the formal handing over of the equipment to the hospital at Mbribit Itam on Thursday, said the state-of-the-art theatre equipment donated will aid the V.V.F Hospital in fistula treatments and repairs.

Okon reaffirmed the state government’s commitment towards partnering International Donor Agencies by ensuring prompt and regular payment of the required counterpart funds for its citizens to benefit from the quick intervention programmes for their wellbeing.

While lauded UNPFA for the assistance to the hospital, Mr. Okon also appreciated other International Donor Agencies for also partnering the state government in other areas of human needs, noting that the agencies will record successes in Akwa Ibom State since the state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel is passionate about the development and wellbeing of the citizens thereby creating an enabling environment for all.

The Commissioner who also thanked the management of the hospital for their relentless efforts in caring for patients, many of whom have been traumatized because of stigmatization and abandonment by family members and friends, specifically lauded their efforts in making sure that

recovered patients are rehabilitated to become self reliant before being reintegrated with their families.

On his part, the Zonal

Programme Officer in charge of Reproductive Health in UNFPA, Mr. Kenneth Ehouzou, disclosed that the core mandate of the agency is to stage a global campaign and sensitization on the issues of V.V.F. which is becoming alarming in our society.

Mr. Ehouzou who described fistula as violation against human right, identified lack of access to good health care facilities and services as the major cause of V.V.F.

He encouraged pregnant women to register for antenatal care in any government approved facilities where they will enjoy the services of qualified medical personnel to prevent the situation.

He said that the UNFPA has been operating in Nigeria for over ten years, specifically in Akwa Ibom State where they have enjoyed tremendous support from the government since 2009.

Ehouzou pledged the continued commitment of the agency to providing more resources for Akwa Ibom State to address health issues, while also calling on all to join in the fight against fistula

Earlier in her remarks, the matron in charge of the facility, Rev. Sister Silvia Ndubaku expressed gratitude to the state government for its support through different ministries over the years and also to UNPFA for donating the theatre equipment which will serve as a booster to their noble services in touching the lives of women suffering from leakage of urine and feaces.

Rev Sister Ndubaku noted that Pope John Paul 11 Family Life Centre/V.V.F Hospital Mbribit Itam, was initiated by Rev. Sister Dr. Ann Ward and remains the first of its kind in the South-South geopolitical zone of Nigeria and the third in the world.

From statistics, Rev. Sister Ndubaku noted that between 2015 and 2019, a total of four hundred and ninety eight (498) cases of Vistula disease have been registered and three hundred and ninety five (395) operated so far.