Obstetric fistula statistics

Obstetric fistula statistics

Around the world more than 2 million women suffer from untreated obstetric fistula (OF) and each year 50,000 to 100,000 new women are affected by it[1] (although other in-depth studies support the opinion that these statistics are a severe underestimation).
 
Obstetric Fistula is an abnormal opening between the vagina and the bladder and/or rectum of a woman. Through this opening urine and/or faeces continually leaks out which makes the woman constantly wed and surrounds her with a unpleasant smell. Besides the shame that is associated with these problems she also experiences intensive pain. Reoccurring infections, the impossibility to be sexually active due to damaged vaginal tissue and even infertility are other problems associated with fistulas, as well as paralysation in the lower legs.
 
Despite awareness of fistula health problems and its impact on the lives of millions of women, it largely remains a ‘hidden’ condition. This because it mostly affects a very marginalized group, that of young, poor and often illiterate women and girls who live in developing countries. Due to lacking basic health care facilities or the inability to reach and/or afford care in a centre these women go through excruciating pains which often eventually leads to death.
 
 
 
[1] Columbia University sponsored Second Meeting of the Working Group for the Prevention and Treatment of Obstetric Fistula. UNFPA, FIGO, Addis Ababa, 2002.

back