Mrs Ulla Muller, Country Representative of UNFPA, 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.

According to the UN representative, UNFPA has 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.

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.

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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.

NAN reports that every May 23, has been set aside by the UN as World Fistula Day.

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