An obstetric fistula is a hole between the birth canal and the bladder and/or rectum caused by prolonged and obstructed labor without access to timely and quality medical care. This causes an uncontrollable passage of urine and/or feces that can cause health complications and stigmatization/marginalization of women. Lack of awareness about obstetric fistula leads to further marginalization of already vulnerable women. Those who have not experienced an obstetric fistula often incorrectly blame the condition on physiological and behavioral characteristics.
Despite being preventable, obstetric fistula persists among vulnerable and marginalized women, and between 50,000 and 100,000 women develop obstetric fistula worldwide each year (WHO, 2014).
Amid the pandemic, the Mozambican government has called for the resumption of fistula repair surgeries for women suffering from this devastating preventable birth injury, which affects several thousand women per year in Mozambique.
Assignment for UNFPA (United Nation Fund for Population Activities) Mozambique November 2020 © Alfredo Zúniga