30,000 women have an untreated vesicovaginal fistula

In Ethiopia about 30,000 women have an untreated vesicovaginal fistula. Most often this is the result of complications of neglected, prolonged or obstructed labour.

At our new Fistula Unit in Arba Minch we collaborate with the Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. This hospital in Addis Ababa is dedicated only to the care of women with obstetric fistulae, and treating other physical and social injuries.

In their experience, this vesicovaginal fistula often results in other injuries. More than half of the patients will be divorced and excluded from religious activities, their home, public transport and health institutions. Patients with fistulas have more than a ‘hole’ between the bladder and vagina, and often have physical, psychological and social problems, stress and urge urinary incontinence, hydronephrosis, renal failure, rectovaginal fistulae, secondary infertility, vaginal scarring and damage to the nerves (foot drop).

You can read a review of the experiences from the Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa in a paper in by Professor Gordon Williams in The Surgeon (February 2007 Vol 5 No 1).

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