Jun 29

Every year, tens of thousands of women and girls in Africa suffer from Obstetric Fistula, a preventable childbirth injury that results in uncontrollable flow of urine and/or faeces. Commonly referred to as fistula, the condition is predominantly caused by long obstructed and strenuous labour during childbirth. The soft tissues of the birth canal are compressed between the descending head of the infant and the woman’s pelvic bone. Therefore, the lack of blood flow causes the tissues to die creating a hole (fistula) between the woman’s pelvic and the bladder (Vesico-Vaginal Fistula or VVF) or between the vagina and rectum (Recto-Vaginal Fistula or RVF) or both, leading to the uncontrollable flow of urine and/or faeces. Apart from obstructed labour, there are other factors that lead to fistula’s including Female Genital Mutilation, sexual abuse like rape, surgical trauma (iatrogenic fistula), gynaecological cancer, teenage pregnancies because the pelvic bone is under-developed among others. In Kenya, at least 1,000 new fistula cases are reported annually mainly because of poverty, the status of the health care system, malnutrition and ignorance. They end up being shoved into a dark corner of their homesteads, treated like outcasts, abandoned by their husbands and family. They are stigmatised. Unlike the developed world, childbirth in Kenya is a blur line between the joy of motherhood and disaster. Women are exposed to risks that can end up fatal, explaining the ever high numbers of maternal mortality in the country.

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Tags: Fistula , Fistula Get

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