Fistula ignorance 'a silent tragedy'

A common lack of public awareness and knowledge about obstetric fistulae in the developing world has been described as "a silent tragedy".

Speaking to Christian Today, Australian urogynaecologist Dr Hannah Krause says millions of women in Africa and Asia continue to suffer fistulae due to a lack of access to essential surgery.

Having spent time in Africa performing reparative operations on sufferers – allowing them to regain control of bodily functions – she fully appreciates the extent of the dangers.

"The big problem is that many such women are shunned by family and their community and are forced to become outcasts, hidden away with their shame," she comments.

"Fistula women have very tragic life stories. Most have lost a child in labour and the fistula caused by the long labour causes them to leak urine or faeces continuously."

Dr Krause adds that some women are forced to endure a fistula for long periods – sometimes as long as 30 or 40 years.

Writing for the Manawatu Standard in New Zealand, Judith Lacy recently claimed that people in the developed world have no knowledge of the condition of fistula and the impact it has on women living in poorer nations.ADNFCR-2094-ID-19221248-ADNFCR