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More obstetric horror stories in Africa

Posted Oct 01 2008 10:28pm
Today's NYT carries a story about a heroic Dutch surgeon, Dr. Kees Waaldijk, who is working to help women in Africa recover from obstetric fistulas. With few resources and little help, he estimates he's done 15,000 fistula repair operations over the past 22 years.

An obstetric fistula is what can happen when labor is unsuccessful and there's no doctor standing by to do an emergency C-section: the baby dies, and the woman's urethra and/or bowels are torn, resulting in urinary and fecal incontinence. Given the early age of marriage and pregnancy for some women, combined with the lack of access to medical care, this is a huge problem--and one that has garnered little international attention or funding. (You can also check out the interactive audio/video feature posted with the text story--but do so only if you can handle watching a little bit of the surgery.)

Linda Glenn posted on this same issue here on the blog in June. Wouldn't it be great if the publicity were generating funding for efforts like Dr. Waaldijk?
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