Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Plastic shopping bag"

Hi everyone,

"Today marks the 100th anniversary of international womens day, an opportunity to celebrate the courageous efforts of women who have come before us and made the freedom so many of us enjoy today possible. But we'd be doing them a disservice if we were to simply celebrate. What we owe them -- as well as our daughters -- is a call to arms to reflect on just how much further we have to go. The rights of girls and women around the world are still more precarious than we may care to admit. 100 years, but we still have a long way to go." - Christy Turlington. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christy-turlington/maternal-mortality-rate_b_832040.html

You can read my new poem here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/50131023/Plastic-shopping-bag

I wrote Plastic shopping bag, after Nigerian actress, Stephanie Okereke enlightened me on the issue of VVF (Vesicovaginal Fistula) here in Nigeria. http://allafrica.com/stories/201008160946.html

"Vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) is a subtype of female urogenital fistula (UGF). VVF is an abnormal fistulous tract extending between the bladder and the vagina that allows the continuous involuntary discharge of urine into the vaginal vault. In addition to the medical sequelae from these fistulas, they often have a profound effect on the patient's emotional well-being" http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/267943-overview

The menace of VVF in Nigeria:

Many girls aged 11-15 in Nigeria become mothers either after early marriage to older men or through accidental pregnancy as a result of sexual intercourse with peers. Their small pelvic sizes cause most of these young girls to experience obstructed labor. Unskilled birth attendants simply cut through the vagina to create passage for the baby which results in vestico vagina fistula (VVF), the leakage of urine and feces through the vagina. The malodorous nature of the condition causes the women with VVF to be outcast by society. There are hundreds of thousands of such cases throughout the federation. The IEC Task Force on VVF was therefore established by the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Services to increase awareness, developing educational materials to focus upon the problem, trend, and solution. Institutional problems, however, have limited the achievements of the task force. Two VVF centers have been established in Kano and Uyo, while two nongovernmental organizations are also working on prevention and treatment. The circumstances surrounding the development of VVF in a girl and a young woman are described. An 11.5 year old primary school pupil in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, received no antenatal care and suffered a two-week long labor during which she was transferred back and forth between traditional birth attendants, native doctors, and the church. The forcing of a long stick through the mouth to the abdomen eventually forcefully expelled a dead, decomposed baby. The subject had multiple uteral rupture and underwent twenty repair operations over four years to rehabilitate her. Even so, she may never bear a child or have a husband. A second case, a 21-year old final year university student in the Arts, attended an antenatal clinic for 38 weeks during her pregnancy. She stopped going to the clinic because her church, the Christian Deliverance Center in Akwa Ibom state, prophesied that her labor would be complicated and lead to her death after delivery through C.S. Her labor lasted for three days after which she delivered a dead baby. Profuse bleeding and the inability of her attendants to remove the placenta prompted a return to the hospital. It was then discovered that she had developed VVF, but she insisted upon being discharged before the repair operation arguing that the condition would be cured in her church. The expected healing did not take place, so the woman returned three months later for a repair. Health personnel found this time that she was again pregnant. This second fetus was borne through C.S, then died later due to the overall unskilled interference with her pregnancy. The author stresses the need to lessen the influence of religion on the reproductive health decision making and behavior of women in Nigeria.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12318635

Thank you for reading, and God bless the millions of women around the world for the strength they exude on a day when we have to remember the many sacrifices they make to ensure the continuity of our existence.

Kind regards,
Chiedu Ifeozo.
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