All posts filed under: End Fistula

Welcome to the End Fistula Channel on Girls’ Globe!

The End Fistula Channel aims to raise awareness of obstetric fistula, share information about the needs to end fistula and the progress that is being made. We will share stories of the individuals and organizations working in the field and highlight actors in the fight to end fistula.

Tragedy to Triumph: How sewing lessons are changing the lives of women with fistula

Written by Samantha Bossalini, Development and Communications Associate  The city of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania is anything but quiet. An increasingly modern metropolis overlooking the Indian Ocean, Dar is home to 4.4 million people, and is one of the fastest growing cities on the African continent. It’s a cacophony of noises, sounds, colors, and smells; ironic for a city whose name means “Place of Peace.” On one of Dar’s residential streets, however, there is a peaceful haven. Behind a stone wall sits the Mabinti Centre. The simple house hums with the sound of sewing machines.  The women working at the machines range in age from 16 to 30-years-old. They greet visitors with smiles and a warm welcome: “Karibu!” Bright kanga fabric and canvas slips beneath their whirring needles as an instructor crouches down to talk them through a difficult stitch, or to share encouragement. In the garden, ladies gather under a thatched gazebo to practice screen-printing on bolts of fabric. Some are learning to tie-dye, some to stitch tiny dolls made of beads and yarn. …

Obstetric Fistula and the Sustainable Development Goals

The UN General Assembly convenes in New York this week. On the agenda: discussion of the first Sustainable Development Goals Report, published in July 2016, which notes impressive gains made over the last few decades. But it is also a reminder that these gains aren’t shared by all. “Between 1990 and 2015, the global maternal mortality ratio declined by 44 percent.” —The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2016 In Bangladesh, where Fistula Foundation actively funds fistula treatment, the maternal mortality ratio decreased by 69 percent between 1990 and 2015. But in rural areas of Bangladesh, where there is limited or no access to health facilities, unattended home births are still common, putting women at risk for death or injuries during childbirth. With over 65 percent of the country’s population living in rural areas, that means many Bangladeshi women are still at risk. Women like Ayesha. Ayesha’s story Ayesha labored at home for seven days. She desperately needed medical care, but there was no way to reach help. Stormy weather made it impossible to leave the small …

#11 – Maternal Health in Tanzania: Inside Maternity Africa

Welcome back to The Mom Pod! After a brief summer break, we are excited to continue with our podcast series and continue to bring you interesting, sincere and thought provoking podcasts on all things related to pregnancy, motherhood, parenthood and babies around the world! Starting from today, our new episodes will now air every other week on Mondays – to mark the important #MaternalMonday advocacy campaign by the Wellbeing Foundation Africa. The #MaternalMonday social media campaign brings awareness to the importance of ensuring a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery for mothers and babies everywhere in the world. To participate, head over to Twitter, follow @Maternal_Monday and join the conversation with the hashtag #MaternalMonday, or visit their website to learn more. In this episode of The Mom Pod, we take a closer look at the state of maternal health and midwifery in one particular African country: Tanzania. I had the pleasure to visit a great organization, Maternity Africa, based in the Selian hospital in Arusha, Tanzania, where I interviewed a few of their midwives and nurses about …

Say the Word

This post was written for Girls’ Globe by Sofia Broffman. It has only been two years since I realized how important vaginas are and how the lack of an intact one can ruin a life. I guess you could say I was a late bloomer, so late that it wasn’t until I turned 16 that I decided to talk to my whole school about this particular part of the anatomy. In the early morning when I stood in the Atlanta Girls’ School hallway to give out cranberry cake and talk about vaginas, was the day I faced my greatest fear. As the cool winter air blew through the hallways, I hardly felt a chill, as my face was as hot as a cinnamon Altoid, and just as red. What felt like an eternity, had only been forty-five minutes and I sighed with relief because the start of the school day was only minutes away. Just as I was about to book it to class, my art teacher Mr. Grainger walked through the door. “Oh no,” …

Life-Changing Surgery for Refugees in Kenya

Written by Lindsey Pollaczek, Fistula Foundation Program Director It’s difficult to imagine what it would be like to live in Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp. Located on the northeastern border of Kenya, the camp is home to more than 300,000 people, mostly refugees from Somalia displaced by years of conflict and famine at home. Iam in the middle of Ben Rawlence’s book City of Thorns, a disturbing look inside the lives of nine residents of this sprawling camp and the tremendous daily struggles they face. When I try to comprehend how much more difficult it would be to live in Dadaab with an obstetric fistula, a debilitating childbirth injury that leaves women constantly leaking urine or feces, it is a harrowing prospect. Over the six years I have been involved in this work, I have spoken with hundreds of women who have lived with fistula. Many endured painful, prolonged labor, lost their babies, and were abandoned by their spouses and isolated by society as a result of their condition. Life-changing surgery Since last May, …

Overcoming Treatment Obstacles in Nigeria

Earlier this month, the UN released its final report on the Millennium Development Goals. Progress in MDG 5, improving maternal health, ultimately lagged behind the others.  Far too many women in the 21st century are still dying during childbirth, and not enough are delivering in the presence of a skilled birth attendant. For every woman who dies during childbirth, at least 20 more suffer from devastating injuries like obstetric fistula, a condition that results from prolonged obstructed labor and renders a woman incontinent. So why are so many women delivering on their own, without skilled assistance or emergency obstetric care? Why are women still developing obstetric fistulas, when we know it’s a condition that can be prevented and should no longer exist? Some of the main hurdles are due to poverty – women may live far away from the nearest hospital, particularly in rural areas, and transportation can be too expensive. Still other hurdles have to do with healthcare infrastructure, or, perhaps more appropriately, a lack thereof: for women who do make it to a …

An Interview with Kate Grant and the Fistula Foundation

Girls’ Globe values the voices of the incredible organizations in our network. Over the next year, Girls’ Globe will continue to highlight the amazing work of these organizations and what they are doing to improve the health and well-being of women and children around the world. Last week, in honor of the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula we “sat down” with CEO of The Fistula Foundation, Kate Grant. Read the interview below and learn more about the they are doing to improve the the health of women around the world. 1. Earlier this week the G4 Alliance launched globally at the WHA in Geneva, Switzerland – an alliance in place to improve​ access to care in Surgery, Obstetrics, Trauma and Anaesthesia. What does this alliance hope to achieve and how is Fistula Foundation involved? The goal of the G4 Alliance is to advocate for neglected surgical patients (i.e. those in low-resource countries) and to provide a collective voice for increasing access to safe, essential and timely surgical, obstetric, trauma and anesthesia care as part of universal health coverage. The …

Contribute to Maternal and Child Health in Somaliland

Post Written By: Thomas Kraemer Over the past week, The Edna Adan Hospital has held surgery camps to improve the lives of mothers and children in Somaliland. A blog series on the hospital’s website highlights the work being done to provide much needed medical care for young babies who suffer from birth defects and life altering medical conditions. We’re excited about the work surgeons are doing at Edna Hospital, not only because of all the children that receive medical care who would normally be out of their reach, but also because visiting surgeons provide excellent training opportunities for our Dr. Said, Dr. Shukri and Dr. Naima—young doctors who represent the future of healthcare in Somaliland. We would like to continue these surgery camps in the future, but unfortunately they put a huge financial strain on the Hospital. While many of Dr. Rhodes’s surgeries are supported by SmileTrain, Dr. Bransford’s surgeries are totally unfunded. If the camps are discontinued, a population of approximately 15 million people in the Horn of Africa will be left with nowhere to go for treatment for many types …

My Mother’s Day Gift

By Elisa Gambino In the spring of 2013, my husband, Neal Broffman, and I visited Gondar University Hospital in Ethiopia with partners Fistula Foundation and Johnson & Johnson. We interviewed and filmed the work that they are supporting to treat women suffering from obstetric fistula, an injury caused by prolonged, obstructed labor that renders a woman incontinent until she can access reparative surgery. This is an injury that can ruin a woman’s life. The constant smell from her incontinence too often prompts her husband to leave or community to abandon her, relegating her to a life of shame and isolation – for doing nothing more than try to bring a child into this world. Woman who are poor cannot access skilled care because they live in remote areas or they don’t know that they should go to a clinic to deliver. The first fistula patient I met was Workinesh, who was at the hospital to receive surgery to repair her fistula. Workinesh was with her daughter, who was my daughter Sofia’s age at the time. …

Why is motherhood in Tanzania about luck?

Written by Samantha Bossalini, Communications and Development Associate, Kupona Foundation This past March, I visited our implementing partner, CCBRT, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. One humid afternoon, I sat with a dozen ladies recovering from surgery to repair the trauma of obstetric fistula. I was surprised by a common thread weaving through each heartbreaking account: luck. For these women, aged 16 to 65-years old, surviving childbirth and becoming a mother had been a deadly game of chance. Lucky because she survived Malela had just turned sixteen. She was petite, shy, and her voice grew quiet when she spoke about the day she lost her baby – one of the 39,000 babies who die every year in Tanzania1. In the US, a 16-year-old girl would be thinking about friends, boys, passing her driver’s test and studying for college entry exams. Malela was telling me about the day she lost her baby. After two days of contractions she passed out from exhaustion. Her now stillborn child was removed with forceps and taken away. When she woke, she remembers feeling her …