5th International Day to End Obstetric Fistula

CCBRT offers music and group therapy as part of a holistic treatment plan which addresses both the psychosocial and physical impact of fistula. Each fistula patient receives counseling, family planning resources, and health education to address the psychological impact of fistula and to empower women with the knowledge to make safe decisions about their reproductive health.

In honor of the 5th International Day to end Obstetric Fistula, we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight this issue and the work that a great organization is doing to help solve it.

Fistula is a severe medical condition that can occur after prolonged, obstructed labor. It’s an alarmingly common in some countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia, where women have limited access to prenatal care and skilled attendance or emergency services during labor and delivery.

Niya — pictured below — is 1 of over 3,000 new fistula cases a year in Tanzania, and 50,000–100,000 new cases a year worldwide.

Two years ago, when Team Every Mother Counts ran the first Kilimanjaro Half and Full Marathon, we had a chance to travel to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to visit CCBRT Disability Hospital. CCBRT is the largest fistula repair facility in Tanzania, and is represented in the U.S. by Kupona Foundation. They are currently in the process of building what will soon become the largest maternity & newborn hospital in Tanzania to address referral cases throughout the country. Part of CCBRT’s holistic approach to fistula treatment is a socioeconomic empowerment project, The Mabinti Centre.

Every Mother Counts was able to visit The Mabinti Centre and see first-hand how they are equipping former fistula patients with the skills they need to secure employment and income after recovering from surgery:

In 90% of obstetric fistula cases, the traumatic labor that causes a woman’s fistula also means her baby does not survive delivery. Women who develop fistula and also deliver a healthy baby are considered very lucky.
Niya with her baby girl Fatima, who was two months old when Every Mother Counts met her in 2015. Niya checked into CCBRT’s fistula program for repair three days before our visit after being referred by a clinic near her home in the southern region of Tanzania.
The Mabinti Centre is a socioeconomic empowerment project of CCBRT where women can focus on recovering from obstetric fistula. Since 2006, 100 former fistula patients have completed a training course in sewing, screen-printing, beading, design, English and business skills at The Mabinti Centre. (Photo Credit: Sala Lewis)
The training Mabinti provides equips women recovering from fistula to start their own businesses or seek meaningful employment, enabling them to build brighter, healthier futures for themselves and their families. (Photo Credit: Sala Lewis)

On International Day to end Obstetric Fistula, we hope to raise awanress about this debiliting issue. To learn more, you can follow along in today’s twitter chat (Tuesday, May 23rd) at 10am ET using #HerWords.

To do more, learn about Every Mother Counts’ work in Tanzania with our two partners, We Care Solar and FAME Africa.

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