Fistula campaigns are one of the most beautiful MSF interventions I’ve ever been part of.
In South Sudan early marriage and teenage pregnancy are common, the fertility rate is high and very few women give birth in the presence of a skilled attendant. A complicated childbirth can result in a woman being in labour for days. This can have serious injuries, if not fatal for the mother and the child. One such injury is a fistula, an abnormal connection between the vagina and the bladder, the vagina and the rectum or both. This causes urinary or fecal incontinence through the vagina. In order to avoid this, the women often reduce their fluid intake which can result in kidney disease and bladder stones. But it doesn’t end there: because of the stigma, most of the women get completely rejected by their family and friends.
After a surgical intervention these women will be accepted again by their family and re-integrate into society. Fistula campaigns transform women from the loneliest, most sad, shy and dehumanised people into the happiest human beings I’ve ever seen. I loved the campaign because it gave back dignity to the patients and literally transformed their life from hell back to normality.