The United Nations Fund For Population Activities (UNFPA) said girl-child education is key to reducing increasing cases of Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) in Nigeria. UNFPA Country Representative in Nigeria, Ms. Ratidzai Ndhlovu, said at a news briefing in Sokoto that Nigeria must invest more in the education of the girl-child to address the problem.
She said that education would have a multiplier effect on the girl-child’s perception of life, well being and general societal development. “To educate a woman, you educate a nation and the education of women is crucial in improving the disturbing health statistics in Nigeria.
“With more educated women, the chances are that more children will be enrolled in schools, as the women are their custodians. In the same vein, it is our belief that more educated women would demand for access to ante-natal care and other reproductive health services.
“This also means that more women would deliver at the health facilities, as such reduce menace of prolonged labour which often leads to VVF as well as maternal mortality among others,” she said.
Ndhlovu stressed that Nigeria must focus on encouraging women to patronise health centres, adding that no woman should be allowed to die as a result of child birth. “A woman can be saved even if there are complications if she puts to bed at the hospital.”
Ndhlovu commended the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar for partnering with the fund in the campaign to reverse the ugly trend. “To this effect, more traditional and religious leaders as well as the men would be fully engaged in boosting girl-child education and the reduction of maternal mortality.
“We will henceforth work together to boost the attendance of more pregnant women to ante-natal care, hence drastically reduce maternal mortality,” she added.