Last week’s meeting on the partograph use was organized by the Fistula Care Project since its use may reduce obstructed labor, one of the main causes of obstetric fistula. Not only do women who develop fistula suffer terrible physical outcomes, but they also are often marginalized:
Left with chronic leaking, women with obstetric fistula are often abandoned or neglected by their husbands and families, unable to work, and ostracized by their communities. Women who develop obstetric fistula usually have had a stillbirth, so they must also deal with the loss of a baby. Women with fistula are often among the most impoverished and vulnerable members of society.
In order to address fistula and provide an avenue for women to seek care and support, the Gloag Foundation, USAID, UNFPA, and Airtel launched a hotline in Sierra Leone for women who have developed fistula:
In the last month more than 8,000 calls have been received, but so far just 0.1 percent have been about cases of fistula.
The Aberdeen Women’s Centre provides the only comprehensive fistula repair service in the country. Despite the small number of calls concerning the condition, Jude Holden, the centre’s Country Director, is pleased with the result. “We have received 90 cases since the hotline opened, and this is a great success,” she told IRIN.