Nigeria Meeting

The 79 participants at the Kaduna meeting came from a diverse variety of backgrounds and professions: They were officials from the federal and state ministries; fistula surgeons and medical officers; nurses; midwives; representatives from nongovernmental organizations; traditional leaders; union leaders; academics; and social workers. Yet, all of these contributors had a shared commitment to rejuvenate Nigeria’s National Taskforce on Obstetric Fistula and to create a strategy to reduce or eliminate fistula in Nigeria. The Federal Ministry of Health, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and EngenderHealth’s Fistula Care project collaborated to organize and fund this meeting, which took place November 18–19, 2010.

The meeting included presentations about the developing field of fistula prevention, care, and treatment. Representatives from the Federal Ministry of Health, UNFPA, and the Nigerian national consultant on fistula, Dr. Kees Waaldijk, all shared their work. The Fistula Care project made a presentation titled “Report on the Findings of an Environmental Scan Conducted in May 2010,” which reviewed the current situation regarding fistula prevalence, fistula awareness, and quality of fistula care in Nigeria. Following Fistula Care’s presentation “Fistula: Strategy Recommendations to Strengthen Services in Nigeria,” meeting participants had small-group discussions about their methods and challenges for improving fistula care.

Perhaps the most important result of the meeting was the creation of new terms of reference for the National Technical Working Group. The group will rework its outdated strategic framework to craft a strategy for addressing fistula in Nigeria over the next five years. Fistula Care looks forward to working with this dynamic group of individuals committed to fistula treatment and prevention in Nigeria.