Vesico-vaginal fistula and psycho-social well-being of Nigerian women

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Tema hälsa och samhälle


The problem of vesico-vagina fistula still remains a ravaging scourge in resource-poor countries of which Nigeria is visibly prominent. A majority of the cases are attributed to prolonged complicated labour due to inaccessibility of adequate and immediate obstetric health care. Complicated labour arises as a result of narrow pelvis bones of victims due to suffering from poor nutrition. While the above factors are noted as the direct cause to the prevalent of VVF, there are other socio-cultural conditions which predispose victims to this disease. Notable among them are the following: poverty; marital age; illiteracy; hazardous traditional practices, such as female circumcision. VVF victims often live an unworthy life. Many of them have been abandoned or divorced by their husbands and become ostracised by families and societies because of their repulsive smell and inability to engage in sexual activity and bear children. VVF victims suffer both physical and social consequences, many of them find it difficult to engage in any economic activity, surviving the hardship is very complicated and pathetic; some victims turn to street begging, while others survive through hawking of “bagged” water and selling firewood.

Most studies conducted on the problem of Vesico vaginal fistula are done from the medical perspectives, often neglecting the psycho-social consequences faced by the sufferers. This study, however, discusses the socio-cultural and the psychological consequences of the disease. Locally and internationally, attempts are being made to eradicate the problem of VVF, however, if the Nigerian government does not recognise the incidence of VVF as a major public health issue, it will continue to ravage lives of Nigerian women, hence increasing maternal mortality in the country. This study proffers recommendations to help eradicate or alleviate the problem in Nigeria.

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