The Fistula Care Project in Nigeria has been reaching out to communities to educate people about the prevention and treatment of fistula, through partnerships with religious leaders and community-based organizations.
In Ebonyi State, Fistula Care led a capacity-building workshop for community leaders in Abakaliki. The 46 participants included traditional leaders from 13 communities and leaders from the Christian and Muslim faiths. The workshop addressed several key maternal health issues, including health policy, fistula prevention, family planning, child spacing, and female genital cutting.
In the Northwestern states of Sokoto, Kebbi, and Zamfara, Fistula Care reached out to Muslim clerics to raise awareness about fistula. The clerics collaborated with village leaders to spread messages on the importance of birth planning, antenatal care, and skilled birth attendance to avoid injuries like obstetric fistula. Clerics in Sokoto preached to groups of married women, and during Ramadan they invited a nurse to a preaching venue to answer questions about birth preparedness, antenatal care, and hospital delivery. Clerics in Zamfara State have also reconciled the marriages of two repaired fistula clients, who were facing divorce as a result of their fistula.
The Fistula Care Project in Nigeria has worked closely with community-based organizations to hold meetings about family planning and the causes of fistula and to organize road transport workers and motorcyclists to spread prevention messages through rallies. The rallies happened on market days (when most people are traveling) in major streets, markets, motor parks, and stopovers on road junctions. Town criers and local musicians added flair and entertainment to the events. Between October 2009 and September 2010, religious leaders and community groups carried out 1,034 events that involved 415,582 people.