KOKO Monthly Initiative: We Must Leave No One Behind, Let Us All Commit To Ending Obstetric Fistula Now!

One of the societal diseases and problems that further shows the hurtful divide in society is the Obstetric Fistula. These serious and tragic injuries occur during childbirth and are mostly experienced by women who do not have the much-needed access to a quality health care facility. These injuries point many to see the juncture at which the world has failed the vulnerable as it is an inadvertent sign of global inequality. What in essence is Obstetric Fistula? It is a hole between the vagina and rectum or bladder that is caused by prolonged obstructed labour, leaving a woman unable to control urine or faeces or both. This most times is caused by prolonged unattended labour which most times last up to six or seven days. The labour 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 labouring mother’s bladder and vagina and/or between the rectum and vagina. This is what causes incontinence in a fistula patient. In the World, the number of untreated Obstetric Fistula is at 1million, where Nigeria accounts for 40% of the cases that occur in the world. This may be because of the level of poverty in the country as many of these women have low resources and cannot afford quality health care while they are pregnant. Obstetric Fistula not only affect women who labour longer but also those who get pregnant at an early age,  cannot afford C-section or are were given low-quality c-section, all caused majorly by poverty. Some of the symptoms of this medical condition include, flatulence, urinary incontinence or faecal incontinence, Foul-smelling vaginal discharge, repeated vaginal or urinary tract infection, irritation or pain in the vagina or surrounding area and pain during sexual activity. The only treatment of this condition is through corrective surgery that costs between 107, 000 to 161, 000 naira. Photo Credit: Getty


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