Human rights violations lead to obstetric fistula

by Project Censored
Published: Updated:

Mwendwa P. was 16 when she became pregnant for the first time. When she went into labor, she did not want to go to the hospital near her town in Kenya because, she had heard that nurses abuse girls who got pregnant when they go into delivery. So, she decided to go through a painful labor at home for close to 24 hours before going to the hospital. There, her fears were confirmed because a nurse mistreated her. A few years later, when Mwendwa was in labor with her fourth child, she could not face the mistreatment again and decided to deliver at home with a traditional birth attendant. Unfortunately, she had complications and developed obstetric fistula.

One of the most severe pregnancy-related complications is obstetric fistula, which strikes when women who need trained medical support for a safe delivery, usually a cesarean section, cannot get it. In the majority of obstetric fistula cases, women will experience physical pain as well as social and emotional distress from living with the inability to control their bowels, foul odor, frequent bladder infections, as well as the loss of the child.. Although, data on obstetric fistula are uncommon, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there are more than 2,000,000 women living with fistula and 50,000 to 100,000 new cases each year (

Unsurprisingly, many Kenyan women who suffer from fistula are either poor, uneducated about obstetric, don’t establish safe sex, are treated badly by medical staff members, or don’t have access to a surgeon, or medical support. The Obstetric Fistula Prevention, Treatment, Hope, and Dignity Restoration Act, empowers the President of the United States to establish universal organizations, and universal and local nongovernmental organizations primarily to uncover health issues that lead to obstetric fistula.. Obstetric fistula is preventable if the United States and surrounding countries take a stand to stop pregnancy-related complications.

Student Researcher: Jessica Capers
Facility Instructor: Elliot Cohen
Indian River State College

Odhiambo, Agnes . ” AfricaFiles | No more suffering in silence: the human rights dimensions of obstetric fistula .” AfricaFiles | HOME PAGE . N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2011. <>.