An obstetric fistula or Vesicovaginal fistula is a terrible condition faced by millions of women in developing nations caused by a lack of adequate medical care during obstructed childbirth. It is not uncommon for women to be several days in labour. In most cases the baby dies. As if it wasn’t enough for the poor mother to have to grieve the loss of her child, the constant pressure of the baby has been cutting off the blood supply to tissue inside her body causing a fistula (or hole) which results in a continual leakage of urine and/or faeces.
The condition exacts a terrible emotional toll, with sufferers often being sent away from their homes by their husbands and sometimes even kicked out of their villages because of the terrible smell as the urine and/or faecal matter soils their clothing. They often live isolated from every kind of help and support – physical, mental, and emotional and usually don’t even know that other women suffer the same condition or that there is a surgery that can repair the damage.