Click on photo to learn: “How Does Obstetric Fistula Happen?”
Obstetric fistula affects more than two million women and girls living in poverty in the developing world. It robs women of their dignity and young girls of their childhoods. Many fistula sufferers are girls aged 12-18. Because women with fistula live in isolation, the scope and severity of the tragedy has yet to be widely recognized.
Fistulas develop when a woman’s childbirth is obstructed and she cannot access medical help. During the labor, often lasting up to five days, the pressure from the baby’s head on soft tissue in the birth passage causes the flesh to die.
This leaves the mother with a hole to her bladder or rectum through which she will leak urine, and sometimes feces, continuously, for the rest of her life. For more details about fistula: “How does obstetric fistula happen?”
Ninety percent of women living with fistula have endured the death of their babies during prolonged childbirth lasting up to five days. Fistula sufferers are frequently pushed to the edges of society, unable to board a bus, enter a hospital, pray communally or share a meal with others.