Obstetric fistula is a condition almost unknown in the West but indescribably hideous for millions of sufferers in the poorest countries in the world.

It typically occurs when a teenage girl cannot deliver a baby because it is too big for her pelvis. After several days of labor without access to a doctor, the baby dies and the girl is left with a hole between her bladder, vagina and sometimes rectum. The result is that urine and sometimes feces drip constantly down her legs. In some cases, she is also left lame from nerve damage.

Women with fistulas stink and leave a trail of urine behind them. They are often abandoned by their husbands and driven out by other villagers.

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The Fistula Foundation
Offering treatment and prevention through support of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia, as well as programs across the country. Includes details of the hospital, and information about the fundraising and educational work of the organization.
Love, Labor, Loss - A Documentary Film
Companion site to a documentary film spotlighting women in Niger, West Africa suffering from obstetric fistula. Copies available for a fee for community based screenings and fundraisers.
One By One
Organization engaging the public and providing financial support to those who treat and prevent fistula in the developing world.
UNFPA.org - Campaign to End Fistula
UN agency defines the problem and how it intends to address it.
NYTimes.com - After a Devastating Birth Injury, Hope
Article discussing fistula-reversal operations in Tanzania paid for by a charitable group, Amref, the African Medical and Research Foundation. (February 23, 2009)
NPR : Hospital Gives Ethiopian Women a Chance at Care
Complications during delivery are a leading cause of death for women giving birth in developing countries. At Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia, some women are getting a chance at treatment. [8:49 streaming audio broadcast] (January 18, 2007)
NYTimes.com - Scholars Argue Over Legacy of Surgeon Who Was Lionized, Then Vilified
J. Marion Sims, called by some the "Father of Gynecology" perfected his technique of repairing fistulas on American slave women in the 1840s. This story is about his efforts and how he's viewed by historians. (October 28, 2003)
NYTimes.com - Alone and Ashamed
Obstetric fistulas are quite common in Africa. Here is a description of the problem, its prevalence, and what some people are doing about it. (May 17, 2003)
[Mozilla Genie]
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December 18, 2014 at 7:45:07 UTC
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