A highly preventable and treatable condition, obstetric fistula can occur during obstructed or prolonged labor when the tissues between the baby’s head and the mother’s pelvis become compressed. Within days, the tissue sometimes dies and creates an opening—called a fistula. The results are debilitating and include chronic incontinence, pain, and sometimes even severe nerve damage. The infant is often stillborn.
Two million women around the world live with fistula. Up to 100,000 more develop the condition every year, according to the World Health Organization. In low-income countries such as Mali, many women do not have access to the skilled health care that can prevent fistula, and may suffer with the condition for years.
Fistula’s physical and emotional tolls are incalculable. Women who suffer from it are often abandoned, ostracized from their families and communities, and forced to live alone on the fringes of society.
But most fistulas—up to 90% of cases—can be repaired with a surgical procedure.
IntraHealth International is working to raise $500,000 through its End Shame: Restore Dignity campaign to help women in Mali reclaim their dignity and well-being.
With your help, we’ll provide them with the surgical procedure that can cure their fistulas, and with the social, psychological, and economic skills and resources they need to rejoin their communities.
Together we can change the way societies react to fistula—and the way they provide care to vulnerable women and families.