A female-run clinic in Afghanistan is providing free, life-changing surgery to women suffering from fistula.
The Malalai fistula clinic is the only public hospital providing surgery and is staffed entirely by women.
A woman with fistula involuntary leaks urine or faeces through her vagina, forcing her into a never-ending battle to stay clean, made all the more difficult for the many without ready access to clean water.
“Ninety percent of the fistula cases I see are because of poverty,” says Dr. Nafiza, Chief Surgeon of Malalai Fistula Clinic.
Afghanistan’s limited access to healthcare, lack of skilled birth attendants such as midwives, and poor education, deprived choice of family planning and early marriage are other factors.
While no reliable statistics exist, an estimated 3,000 women in Afghanistan have fistula, according to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Afghanistan, which works to improve maternal and reproductive health.
Dr. Nafiza heads a small all-female team of doctors, nurses and support staff, serving hundreds of patients every year. UNFPA funds 150 obstetric fistula surgeries each year.
The cost of the surgery is covered, as is travel and accommodation and the majority of food and medicine, which comes to $1,200 for each patient.
Fistula has not been eliminated in developed countries. When it does occur, it can nearly always be cured by inexpensive, uncomplicated surgery.
But in countries such as Afghanistan, with a lot of women living in poverty it is destroying thousands of women’s lives.
Read Full Story: The Affliction Destroying Afghan Women’s Lives