What if you were pregnant without access to professional health care?
What if you were assisted by a traditional healer at birth, or what if you were expected to deliver your baby on your own?
What if you knew something was wrong, but nobody was able to help you or your undelivered baby?
What if you were in labor for several days, or even a week, before being taken to hospital?
This happens to over 100,000 women every year (this is a low estimate!). These women’s essential human rights are neglected and many of them end up with tragic life changing consequences. Many of these women lose their baby and end up with obstetric fistula.
This is the story of Sifa, a Ugandan fistula survivor.
This is one of many stories from EngenderHealth.
Obstetric fistula is a hole between a woman’s birth passage and her internal organs, that develops during prolonged obstructed labor. This hole leads to permanent incontinence.
The consequences of fistula are not only physical, but also psychological and social. Due to their smell and their inability to have children, many of these women become outcasts and are left by their husbands and may be forced out of their home and even their villages. A woman with fistula has little possibilities to work and provide for herself and her family, but becomes greatly dependent on others.
Girls’ Globe thinks that fistula is a neglected public health issue that should be given so much more attention than it has been given in the past. Fistula is preventable and treatable. Given education and access to health care, women would be able to deliver with the help of skilled healthcare professionals. Communities and women who live with fistula need to be given the information that these women can be cured!
According to The Fistula Foundation the average cost to cure a fistula, including surgery and physical rehabilitation, is $ 450. Visit their homepage and read more about what they are doing to prevent and cure fistula around the world. Fistula is most common in Africa and South Asia, or in remote places where there is little or no access to emergency obstetric care. There is a new Global Fistula Care Map, which shows you where in the world women have access to prevent or treat obstetric fistula. Check it out to learn more about what is being done to give all women a chance to have access to their universal human rights.
We want to hear from you!
Have you heard about Obstetric Fistula?
How did you hear about fistula the first time?
If you have a story related to this post, please share it with us!
- Learn more at The Campaign to End Fistula.
- Take a look at Five Things to Know about Obstetric Fistula from Direct Relief International.
- Check out Fast Facts and FAQs from the Fistula Foundation.
Note: The featured image to this post is from EngenderHealth.