KOKO’s Monthly Initiative: 10 Facts Everyone Needs To Know About Obstetric Fistula

 Facts 1: Obstructed labour accounts for up to 6% of all maternal deaths, it is a cause of maternal mortality and morbidity.

Fact 2: Obstetric fistula is a hole in the birth canal caused by obstructed labour, it is estimated that more than 2 million young women live with untreated obstetric fistula in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Fact 3: Obstetric fistula affects hundreds of thousands of women, each year between 50,000-100,000 Fistula

Fact 4: Obstetric fistula leads to physical and mental suffering. Women who experience this preventable condition suffer constant urinary incontinence which often leads to social isolation, skin infections, kidney disorders and even death if left untreated.

Fact 5: Obstetric fistula can be prevented. Obstetric fistulae can be largely be avoided by delaying the age of first pregnancy, by the cessation of harmful traditional practices and by timely access to quality obstetric care.

Fact 6: Obstetric fistula is observed mostly in certain conditions. Most fistulae occur among women living in poverty in cultures where a woman’s status and self-esteem may depend almost entirely on her marriage and ability to bear children.

Fact 7: A holistic approach can help address the condition. Obstetric fistula still exists because health care systems fail to provide accessible, quality maternal health care, including family planning, skilled care at birth, basic and comprehensive emergency obstetric care and affordable treatment of fistula.

Fact 8: Training Is Critical. Health professionals in afflicted countries are continuously being trained in preventing and managing obstetric fistula.

Fact 9: Surgical intervention can help in some cases patients with uncomplicated fistulae can undergo a simple surgery to repair the hole in their bladder or rectum. Approximately 80-95% of Vaginal fistula can be closed surgically.

Fact 10: Remedying Obstetric fistula works towards the SDGs. Preventing and managing obstetric fistula will contribute to improved maternal health and the achievement of the sustainable development Goals (SDG). Photo Credit: Getty

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