The Effects Of Obstetric Fistula On Our Women

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Every year, 1,000 new cases of a preventable and treatable disability called obstetric fistula develops in our women. An obstetric fistula is described as “a hole in the birth canal” that occurs as a result of obstructed labor. Malnourishment, poverty, and young age and resource poor areas are the main risk factors. The consequences of obstetric fistula are physical, emotional and psychological. Lack of skilled medical personnel’s and poor healthcare infrastructure along with low levels of education, and high fertility rates all contribute to Mali’s high obstetric fistula prevalence. To improve obstetric health in Mali, we must invest in training midwives, building strong community clinics and hospitals that provide pre and
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Low number of hospitals along with limited means of transportation and surgeries fees remain a barrier to access medicine and new methods that improve maternal health.
Risk Factors:
Obstetric fistulas are a “disease of poverty”. More than half of the country lives below the poverty line. Mali also has a maternal mortality of 550 for 1,000 women. About 65% of young girls are married before the age of 18, and 45% will have their first child before 18. Young girls are 88% more likely to develop obstetric fistulas. Malnutrition among young mothers further leads to a small stature which results in a cephalic-pelvic disproportion. During childbirth, a fetus’s shoulders are unable to fit through the girl’s small pelvic bones causing pressure that leads to the development of obstetric fistulas.
Fertility also remains high in Mali, with each women giving birth to an average of 6.1 times in her lifetime. Among poor rural women, this number increases to 7.2 births, while for wealthy, urban woman it is 2.8 births. Contraceptives uses are low. Only 3% of low income rural women in Mail utilize contraceptives as compared to the 23% of use among high income urban women. Lack of education about family planning and inadequate access to health centers, prenatal care poses challenges for maternal health.
Furthermore, it is estimated that 54% Malian women have their children
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