The Fistula Foundation, recognized by the Nigerian Institute of Public Health for promoting safe motherhood and implementing effective fistula management practices, received the Excellence Award conferred by the Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria.
According to Ms. Gillian Slinger, coordinator of the Campaign to End Fistula, the Foundation is getting very well-deserved recognition for the work done in the country.
“The fact that the Fistula Foundation Nigeria was selected as the winner of this year’s award shows not only the institution’s outstanding service in favor of marginalized women and girls, as well as their communities, but also the commitment of the Nigerian society to fight fistula,” Ms. Slinger commented.
Mr. Musa Isa, Founder and Director of the Fistula Foundation, believes that this recognition will help to strengthen the foundation’s work with fistula survivors.
Mr. Musa Isa, founder and Director of the Fistula Foundation Nigeria, assists women with fistula in a rural area.
“This appreciation goes a long way to gather support and mobilize resources, especially when it comes to incurable or inoperable cases,” Mr. Isa said during the award ceremony, which took place at the University’s Conference Centre at the end of the year.
The Fistula Foundation Nigeria—which aims to raise awareness about fistula at community level, develop positive attitudes towards patients and promote safe motherhood practices—also conducts advocacy to increase the support to pregnant women and women living with fistula, reducing the associated stigma.
The NGO also empowers and supports fistula patients to help them cope with the psychological and physical challenges that result from the condition.
Fistula patients ready for discharge.
“We have a mix of counseling, advocacy and service delivery, with periodic surgery pool efforts to reduce the backlog of fistula patients identified during community outreach,” explains Mr. Isa. In the first six months of 2011, the 60 community educators trained by the institution helped identify and refer almost 370 fistula patients for surgery.
According to Mr. Isa, with a 90 percent success rate, fistula surgery is the first step for the women who benefit from the programme. “One third of the patients who received treatment in early 2011 are back to their communities after intensive professional training. Now they can support themselves and this is crucial so that they can also regain confidence and recover their dignity,” he says.
Mr. Isa admiring a cap made by a patient.