Expert debunks myth about fibroid operation

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A medical expert, Dr. Rosemary Ogu, has allayed fears of becoming barren or dying from surgical removal of uterine fibroids among women suffering from the condition.

Ogu, former Chairperson of the Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Rivers State Chapter, assured that there were no risks so long as sufferers seek early medical diagnosis and treatment and only from qualified medical personnel and reputable hospitals.

She spoke ahead of a free medical outreach programme at which 100 patients will benefit from cost-free fibroid surgical operations in Port Harcourt on Saturday.

The event, which will also feature enlightenment talk, free medical screening, consultation and counselling, is organised by the O.B. Lulu -Briggs Foundation in conjunction with the MWAN, Rivers State University Teaching Hospital and its University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) counterpart.

Fibroid is a swelling of the soft tissue in womb that causes bareness, miscarriage, excessive menstrual bleeding and severe bodily pains in women.

Medical treatment is by surgical removal of the womb or tumour, which, according to experts, affects 50 percent of the female population of reproductive age. But, most patients avoid surgeries over fear fears that they could die or unable to conceive.

However, Dr. Ogu, a consultant gynaecologist at Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, said there was no room for such fear if the cases were handled by doctors and facilities with requisite skills and equipment, such as the teaching hospitals involved in the programme.

She stressed that the teaching hospital where she works has not recorded any fatality, despite carrying out scores of fibroid operations.

She enjoined women in the state who may suffer from the scourge to avail themselves of the opportunity offered by the foundation, as the cost of surgery is expensive, hovering between N260,000 and N300,000.

Coordinator of Programmes, O.B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation, Mrs. Ineba Tongkam, said the health programme, envisioned by the body’s founder, Dr. Sienye O.B. Lulu-Briggs, was a follow-up to an earlier one in Bakana community in which 22 women were diagnosed of fibroid during a screening.

She said the foundation was emphasizing on women’s health and uterine fibroid this time, because of the disturbing social prevalence of the disease. “We realized that for every case of diagnosed fibroid, there are still about a thousand more.”

Tongkam said the philanthropic body planned to collaborate with the government to eradicate the problem among women in the state.

She listed the foundation’s activities to include empowering youths, micro-business schemes, rehabilitating schools and awarding scholarship to students, caring for old people, 500 of whom enjoy free feeding, medical treatment and recreational facilities under its “Care for the Elderly Programme.”