Wednesday, September 28, 2005

More obstetric horror stories in Africa

Today's NYT carries a story about a heroic Dutch surgeon, Dr. Kees Waaldijk, who is working to help women in Africa recover from obstetric fistulas. With few resources and little help, he estimates he's done 15,000 fistula repair operations over the past 22 years.

An obstetric fistula is what can happen when labor is unsuccessful and there's no doctor standing by to do an emergency C-section: the baby dies, and the woman's urethra and/or bowels are torn, resulting in urinary and fecal incontinence. Given the early age of marriage and pregnancy for some women, combined with the lack of access to medical care, this is a huge problem--and one that has garnered little international attention or funding. (You can also check out the interactive audio/video feature posted with the text story--but do so only if you can handle watching a little bit of the surgery.)

Linda Glenn posted on this same issue here on the blog in June. Wouldn't it be great if the publicity were generating funding for efforts like Dr. Waaldijk?


One By One said...

Based on publicity I saw on fistula about 18 months ago I began a journey to raise funds and awareness for the issue. I am the co-founder of a volunteer initiative, One By One, that is raising awareness and funds for the UN Population Fund's Campaign to End Fistula. As the article points out, $300 is all it costs to bring a woman suffering from this tragic and debilitating condition back to life. One By One uses a giving circle model, where one leader gives $30 and then asks nine friends, family members, neighbors or co-workers to do the same. Together the circle raises $300 - enough money to cover the care for one woman with fistula.

Since our launch in April we have raised over $20,000, enough money to care for 65 women with fistula.

You can learn more about fistula and One By One at

Sue Trinidad said...

Thanks so much for providing this info, and the link!

haroldtheobold7411 said...
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