Mali - Fistula

22 images Created 19 Feb 2018

Obstetric Fistula is the most life shattering childbirth related injury a woman can suffer.

The stench that shrouds patients because they cannot control their urine or faeces or both, gets them ostracized, divorced and often totally abandoned.
In a culture where women who give birth at home are considered “strong”, many don’t bother going for prenatal consultation or even consider giving birth in a hospital until there is a complication during labour. Pregnant women who face prolonged labour can end up being in labour for up to six or seven days.

In rural Mali, it is quite common for girls as young as 12 years to be married off, and most of them becoming mothers by age 14 or 15. Since their bodies are often not mature enough to handle the stress that comes with child birth, Fistula is quite often inevitable, though totally preventable.

“An obstetric fistula is a hole between the vagina and rectum or bladder that is caused by prolonged obstructed labor, leaving a woman incontinent of urine or feces or both.
...The labor produces contractions that push the baby’s head against the mother’s pelvic bone. The soft tissues between the baby’s head and the pelvic bone are compressed and do not receive adequate blood flow. The lack of blood flow causes this delicate tissue to die, and where it dies holes are created between the laboring mother’s bladder and vagina and/or between the rectum and vagina. This is what produces incontinence in a fistula patient”: fistulafoundation(dot)org

Thanks to IntraHealth, a number of these women in Mali are receiving free medical support but victory is far from sight.
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