International Day to End Obstetric Fistula

Priscilla is a student in Kenya. She suffered a fistula following four days of unattended obstructed labour, nine months after she was forcibly sexually violated at age 15. 

 Because of her fistula, a condition that caused her to leak urine and feces, she was marginalized, cast aside by family and friends. Priscilla’s fistula, and the 50-100,000 new cases experienced by women every year, are totally preventable with access to essential surgery and trained medical personnel.  Because Priscilla didn’t have timely access to Emergency Obstetric Care at her District Hospital her baby died and she suffered a debilitating injury that forced her to leave school and lose the support of her family and community. One in five women giving birth face these same risks.

Fistulas can be prevented with access to essential surgery during labor and delivery and can be repaired with basic surgery for as little as USD$400.  Non-physician clinicians at District Hospitals, who are found to be performing about 70-80% of basic surgical procedures in countries like Malawi and Tanzania can be trained to prevent and correct fistula and perform other lifesaving procedures such as emergency Cesarean section.

 Priscilla, recently underwent fistula repair surgery to correct the damage done by her labour.  You can hear more about her story here.

Please join ICES and the Right To Heal in making sure all women have access to safe and essential surgery.