Support women suffering from fistula

March 6, 2009

For International Women’s Day and the month of March, we’re highlighting women who inspire us.

M4ID honours Women’s Day by supporting the amazing Campaign to End Fistula, which is providing treatment to hundreds of thousands of women suffering from fistula as well as supporting fistula survivors, whose strength and courage inspires us.

Fistula is caused by obstructed labour: the pressure from the baby’s head on soft tissue in the birth passage causes the flesh to die, leaving 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.  During the prolonged labour, often lasting up to five days, the baby usually also dies.  The physical suffering a woman with fistula endures is relentless. Due to the leaking and resulting smell, they are abandoned and pushed to the edges of society, unable to board a bus, enter a hospital, or share a meal with others.  The loss of dignity and social exclusion is for many women the hardest to bear.

I am distasteful in the eyes of others, It is God’s will – 48 year old woman, Mali

Everyone deserted me – my husband deserted me, my friends deserted me. I know I will never have a husband, I will never have a boyfriend, I will never have a baby. So I just live by myself.
– Fatmata, Sierra Leone

Because women with fistula are hidden away or live in isolation, the scope and severity of the tragedy has not been widely recognized. Yet, obstetric fistula affects more than two million women and girls living in poverty in the developing world. The majority of these sufferers are girls aged 12-18. The good news is, however,  that obstetric fistula can be both prevented as well as treated. Access to emergency caesarean section and community education about safe delivery prevents fistuals from occuring.  Treatment comes in the form of a simple surgical procedure.  Women can recover fully, re enter society and even become mothers again..

I will be able to go to church again. I will be able to help a bit in the fields. I will be able to go shopping and to go on the back of someone’s bicycle – all the things that other people normally do.
—Rukia from Tanzania.

€ 250 provides a women suffering from fistula with treatment surgery, with as little as € 3 one can provide a woman recovering from her surgery with food for one week.  To help, please donate to the Campaign to End Fistula.