A fistula is a hole in a woman’s birth canal between the vagina and the bladder or rectum. Typically, this is a birth injury caused by obstructed labour. Urine or stool leaks continuously through the fistula, and many women are shunned by their families and communities as a result.

This devastating injury is most common in areas where there are few hospitals or midwives, and a woman with a complicated childbirth may be in labour for days.

Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) provides surgery to correct the damage, and psychosocial care to help women returning to their communities.


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