Today marks the 7th annual International Day to End Obstetric Fistula. According to the United Nations Population Fund, about 100,000 women develop obstetric fistula every year. In Nigeria, almost 20,000 women develop obstetric fistula annually. However more than 400,000 women are currently living with this condition in the country as a result of poor access to hospitals and proper medical care. The United Nations Population Fund has supported free surgical repairs for over 6,000 women and girls living with fistula in Nigeria.
Obstetric Fistula is an abnormal opening between a woman’s genital tract and her urinary tract or rectum. Obstetric fistula is one of the major causes of maternal mortality especially amongst women in Asia, the Arab region and Sub-Sahara Africa. The opening can be as a result of obstructed labor. During obstructed labor the tissues between the woman’s vagina and her pubic bone are damaged by continuous pressure from the infant’s neck trapped in the birth canal. The damaged tissue later falls off leaving a hole between the vagina and urinary tract or rectum. Faeces and/or urine often leaks from this hole. Obstetric fistula may also be caused by cancer, radiation therapy or surgical complications.
Obstetric fistula can be treated mainly through surgical procedures. The success rate of surgically treating obstetric fistula is very high, above 90% in most cases. However in Nigeria over a large number of women are currently living with this condition. Women that suffer from obstetric fistula are often socially ostracized.
Obstetric fistula can be prevented by;
- Delaying age of first pregnancy
- Cessation of harmful traditional practices such as Female Genital Mutilation
- Timely access to obstetric care.
No woman or girl should have to live with obstetric fistula.
At EL-RAPHA HOSPITALS AND DIAGNOSTICS we provide professional and affordable treatment for obstetric fistula. We are committed to the welfare of every woman an girl child and we join the rest of the world today in the fight against this “silent epidemic”.