Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fistula: Nasty but not Necessary

Have you ever avoided someone because you thought they were smelly or dirty? While you probably just decided not to spend too much time with them, in some places women are literally expelled from their communities because they smell. And it is not their fault… blame fistula.

Fistula is a common complication of giving birth. Basically, the baby accidentally rips a hole between the birth canal and its mom’s bladder or rectum. Left untreated, it causes a new mother to leak urine or feces. However, it is an almost completely preventable condition that occurs from a lack of medical attention and has been eliminated in North America and Europe, and for only $300 the tissue can be repaired and the woman can return to her community and care for her children.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is on a campaign to provide access to this surgery for women around the world. To learn more about fistula, or to help change lives (just $5 provides food to a recovering fistula patient for one week), click here.