Obstetric fistula is a debilitating childbirth injury resulting from prolonged obstructed labor and the inability to obtain a timely and safe operative delivery. A fistula (a hole) is formed between the bladder or rectum and vagina, resulting in constant urine or stool leakage. Untreated, the condition can progress to further tissue death and scarring. This can lead to infertility, damage to pelvic organs, leg paralysis (footdrop), skin ulcers and more. Many women with this condition are frequently ostracized from their communities, leading to social isolation and depression.
Treating and curing obstetrical fistulas come with many challenges. Having a skilled surgeon to close the wound is only one of the many steps needed for healing. Before a woman can even be operated on, she must have had good nutrition that promotes healthy skin and tissue so the surgical site does not break down. She must also have access to nurses who provide quality post-operative care. It is also crucial that the woman has regular follow up care to check on how her wound is healing.
For these reasons, we prioritize creating partnerships with local Liberian healthcare facilities and agencies invested in fistula repair and other pelvic floor disorders in order to optimize treatment and healing.