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These women's voices are rarely heard. CBM are asking the world to listen. Fistula is something most men and even lots of women don't want to hear about.
CBM want to bring the vitally important issue of Obstetric Fistula to the attention of as many people as possible. The subject of the causes of Fistula are often shied away from; something of a taboo subject, due to the sometimes dreadful injuries sustained either through protracted or obstructed labour, or due to violence.
20 million women are disabled as a consequence of pregnancy and childbirth per year" - UN (United Nations)
When adequate obstetric care is not available, it increases the risk of fistula damage and complications during birth. In some cases, a prolonged labour of more than two days will also cause the baby to die.
Obstetric fistula destroys the lives of so many women in the poorest countries of the world; in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa alone, 1.5 million women are living with fistula. Even more shocking is that the majority of these women are unaware that their condition can be treated.
The doctors didn't do anything to fix me. But it was my first baby and I didn't know." - Anna
Fistula is devastating. It not only causes physical trauma, but the long term negative emotional effects can be overwhelming. Women affected are often ostracised from their families and their communities.
CBM want to help stop the suffering of these girls and women. Obstetric fistula patients are often young women, sometimes barely more than girls, though it is common to see women who have secretly lived with fistula for 30 years or more.
Anna, is a beautiful teenage girl in Tanzania. At her local hospital, the doctors kept telling her 'not yet'. So Anna waited, in the agony of labour, day after day. On the fourth day, Anna finally gave birth to her baby. It was a little girl, and she was dead.
To lose a baby is a tragedy for any woman, but what happened next for Anna made the nightmare continue...
The hospital sent Anna home even though her legs wouldn't work and she was leaking urine and faeces. Worse still, Anna couldn't walk because the pressure of her baby's head had damaged nerves in her legs. "I was so afraid I would never get better. All I could do was lie in bed leaking. I thought it might be normal" says Anna.
Anna's Aunt Shangazi knew it was wrong, so the 70-year old woman picked up her paralysed niece and carried her on her back all the way to the local hospital. That hospital was our hospital - a CBM hospital. Thankfully it wasn't too late to save Anna's legs and heal her body.
My heart doesn't hurt now" - Anna
CBM want to help more women regain their dignity - something that is lost when you no longer have control of your most basic bodily functions - by helping them to get the surgery, rehabilitation, and support that they so desperately need, and thereby returning them to their communities with a sense that they no longer need to hide away in the shadows.
It costs just £250 to give a woman her life back.
With your help we can help many more women who still need our help.