Fistula Surgeries in Tanzania

Aid for young mothers

An interesting Norwegian IMPACT initiative is the establishment of the fistula centre at the Selian Lutheran Hospital in Arusha in Tanzania in East Africa. Operations and specialized after treatment on women with fistula is performed here.

Fistula occurs in 50 000 to 100 000 women annually. More than 2 million women in developing countries live with untreated fistula.

Fistula is a pregnancy related impairment that can occur in conjunction with complicated birth deliveries happening without necessary medical equipment and care. The result is substantial damage to the birth canal who may lead to incontinence, great pain, infection and other serious medical conditions.

Not only is there lack of proper medical apparatus; there is also a social stigma tied to the issue. A lot of women with fistula get shunned from their local community due to the strong odour following the loss of control over urine and excrement. Fistula can be treated with a surgical intervention, and prevented entirely by the administration of proper birthing- and post post-natal care.

Fistula occurs all over the world, but is particularly widespread in Africa. Its prevalence is closely tied to impoverished conditions. Fistula also tends to strike young women victims of child marriages – becoming pregnant while the body is still premature and unfit for the strain of a pregnancy and birth. Fistula can be prevented by postponing legal age of marriage and pregnancy, and by increased access to education and family planning.

Watch a video of the fistula department at the Selian Lutheran Hospital in Tanzania here: