Obstructed labour accounts for up to 6% of all maternal deaths. It is a cause of maternal mortality and morbidity.
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.
Each year, between 50,000 to 100,000 women worldwide develop obstetric fistula.
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.
Obstetric fistula fistula can 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.
Most fistula occur among women living in poverty cultures where a woman’s status and self esteem may depend in cultures where a woman’s status and self-esteem may depend almost entirely on her marriage and ability to bear children.
Obstetric fistula still exists because health care systems fail to provide accessible, quality maternal health care, including family planning.
Health professionals in afflicted countries are continuously being trained in preventing and managing obstetric fistula.
Patients with uncomplicated fistula can undergo a simple surgery to repair the hole in the bladder or rectum. Approximately 80-95% of vaginal fistula can be closed surgically.
Preventing and managing obstetric fistula will contribute to improved health, the 5th Millennium Development Goal (MDG’s).