Fistula: caused by failed healthcare systems [AFP/Isaac Kasamani via Getty Images]

“While the root causes of obstetric and iatrogenic fistula differ, both represent failures of the health system to provide women with timely, safe and appropriate care, and both have severe consequences.”

We tend to refer to the cause of our mission as “obstetric” fistula, in other words a fistula pertaining to childbirth. However, in a recent study of 6,000 women affected by fistula across 11 countries, 13% said that they sustained a fistula by surgical error. It is time to turn our focus on “iatrogenic” fistula, a fistula which is “induced inadvertently by a physician or surgeon or diagnostic procedures.”

Op Fistula saw similar results during our pilot program: we recorded that 31% of the fistulas of the women we treated had been a result of a failed caesarean section. Unfortunately, health systems continue to fail these women by carrying out unsafe surgeries due to both lack of resources and lack of skilled staff. The consequence: the dire existence of iatrogenic fistula.

Click here to read more about the root causes of iatrogenic fistula and which solutions we can strive towards.

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