Obstetric Fistula

More than 2 million women are currently living with obstetric fistula, a major proportion of whom are in Africa (Source: WHO).

Without access to proper obstetric care, women in developing nations can spend days in agonising prolonged labour before finally delivering a stillborn child. For those who survive, many develop the debilitating condition known as Obstetric Fistula (OBF). Obstetric fistula most often leads to permanent incontinence, a continuous leakage of urine and loss of control over bowel movements. Affected women are often abandoned by their husbands and ostracised by their families and communities.

On board ships and at dedicated land-based OBF clinics, Mercy Ships volunteers provide free corrective surgery, rehabilitation and counselling to some of the estimated 2 million mothers who suffer from childbirth injuries, and our women’s health program allows us to do even more to prevent these childbirth injuries from happening in the first place. 

While our surgeons are treating those with childbirth injuries, other health care professionals are working alongside Madagascar’s department of health to train local doctors, nurses and other medical staff in the better management of women’s health.

Mercy Ships celebrates their return to society by holding a special ceremony and healed patients are given new outfits and headdresses as symbols of their restored life.

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