Imagine life ostracized from your community, returned to your family by your husband. Your crime? To have spent six days in labor delivering a stillborn child, the result of which has left you doubly incontinent so body fluids drip constantly, eating your flesh, causing boils and excruciating pain, making you a rotting, stinking outcast. Not only is this the fate of women who suffer from obstetric fistula in the developing world, an all but forgotten tragedy, but the women are also considered cursed.
It only takes USD100 to go to one of the four fistula centers located around Ethiopia, a country the size of France and Spain combined, but it can take a farmer 7-10 years to save that much, and public transportation is not an option for a reeking female. Instead women live in hell for a condition that has all but been eliminated in the developed world. The last fistula hospital in the United States closed in 1895. (Yes, 1895).
To view the full story please visit The Huffington Post.
Originally published at the Huffington Post on the 29th of May, 2009.