A fistula patient (name withheld) in Katsinawa Village under Ningi local council area of Bauchi State was denied treatment by her family who kept her in an isolated hut where she urinates, eats and sleeps.
According to Sani Mohammed, the Unit Head of the Social Welfare Service at the National Obstetrics Fistula Centre in Ningi, the victim’s family believes her sickness is a source of wealth and they stood in her way, frustrating attempts to help her.
“She was isolated in a small hut,” Mohammed said. “We convinced them that they should bring her for treatment but they refused. When we went back, we could not find them again. Villagers told us they had relocated.”
“The family believed that If the woman should be treated, their riches will vanish,” Sani told WikkiTimes.
Mohammed described the woman’s story as one of the culturally influenced barriers worsening fistula in the region. According to him, female genital mutilation among other cultural practices such as child/early marriage are the major leading factor driving increased cases of fistula in the state, particularly in Ningi, Kirfi, Alkaleri and Bauchi local government areas.
However, the centre is tackling the barriers head-on, Mohammed claimed, adding the centre does not only sensitize the locals alone but also takes some punitive measures to checkmate such “barbaric” practices. This, he said the centre is doing through a wide range of partnerships with civil society and rights-based organisations.