The United Nations (UN) Population Fund (UNFPA), says Nigeria records 12,000 new cases of Vesicovaginal Fistula (VVF), yearly.
VVF is an abnormal fistulous tract extending between the bladder (vesica) and the vagina, that leads to continuous involuntary discharge of urine into the vaginal vault.
Country Representative of UNFPA, Ulla Muller, told NAN in an interview in Abuja, that with the figure, Nigeria was one of the countries with the highest number of VVF cases globally.
“Nigeria has about 148,000 cases of fistula, with about 12,000 new cases every year,” Muller said.
The UN representative said UNFPA has a large imprint in Nigeria through preventive and curative interventions such as family planning, community engagement and training of healthcare workers.
She said these were key to preventing and reducing fistula, which had destroyed the lives of many young women and caused many families untold hardships.
Ms Muller, who described Nigerian fistula surgeons as one of the best in the world, said it was advisable for women living with the condition to avoid getting pregnant for at least twelve months.
She emphasised UNFPA’s commitment to creating awareness on the disease through the use of local and social media platforms, targeting young women.
Ms Muller advised young women with the condition to seek immediate medical help and not feel ashamed for fear of stigmatisation.
She attributed the prevalence of VVF on child marriage, which she said often exposed such young girls to the risk of the disease.
May 23 every year has been set aside by the UN as World Fistula Day.