Monday, July 4, 2022

Under-age marriage major cause of fistula in women – Group

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Save Our Heritage Initiative, SOHI, an NGO, says underage marriage is one of the greatest causes of fistula in women and girls.

May Ikokwu, the group’s Chief Executive Officer, CEO, said this in Abuja on Monday, during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in commemoration of the International Day to end Fistula.

According to experts, fistula is an abnormal connection between two body parts, such as an organ or blood vessel and another structure. Fistulas are usually the result of an injury or surgery.

Ms Ikokwu said the inclusion of a department for fistula care in Primary Healthcare Centres at the rural areas, was imperative to treating and preventing the disease.

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She explained that the Primary Health Centres would help in educating women on the causes and symptoms, which most women, especially in the rural areas, were unaware of.

She listed the symptoms to include bleeding, fever; chills and general feeling of fatigue, and advised women to consult a doctor if they experienced any of the conditions.

According to her however, the leading causes of anal fistula are clogged anal glands and abscesses, with signs and symptoms like frequent pain and swelling around the anus.

Other causes, according to her, are bloody or foul-smelling drainage from an opening around the anus.

Ms Ikokwu, however, said surgery was the most effective method of curing anal fistula and other forms of the disease.

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Such surgery, according to experts, is performed by a colon and rectal surgeon.

NAN also reports that an anal fistula is a small tunnel that connects an abscess and an infected cavity in the anus, to an opening on the skin around the anus.

The anus is the external opening through which faeces are expelled from the body; and inside the anus are a number of small glands that make mucus.

Occasionally, these glands get clogged and can become infected, leading to an abscess.

Though there are two major types of fistula namely; obstetric and anal, Fistula generally is a small tunnel that connects abscess, an infected cavity in the anus or the female reproductive organ.

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The SOHI boss who advocated for an end to child marriage, said education to the girl child was imperative.

According to Ms Ikokwu, the government should reinforce the relevant laws that protect the girl child from under-age marriage, in order to end the menace.

“The root cause is under age marriage of the girl child.

“The law against early marriages should be enforced. The problem of child labour and out of school children should also be addressed squarely,” she advised.

Ms Ikokwu however affirmed the commitment of her group in protecting the Rights of the Girl-Child, who she described as a valuable heritage of the society.


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