PEOPLE of Third World countries suffer from many diseases from hepatitis to diarrhoea, from malaria to tuberculosis, the reason for all being poverty and lack of health facilities.
Vesicovaginal fistula is a debilitating disease inflicted on women, especially those living in rural areas. It is a preventable complication. However, if left untreated, it makes a woman’s life miserable.
An estimation by the World Health Organisation states that in India and Pakistan 70 to 80 per cent of these women are divorced by their husbands; many are hated even by their families because of the odour of urine.
The fistula is formed because of lack of access to emergency gynaecological and obstetric health services.
Why does the situation exist? The fundamental problem is woman’s lack of access to emergency medical care once labour becomes obstructed. At least two million women are waiting for fistula surgery, the majority of them being from the Third World.Poor obstetric services leave thousands of women crippled. Many children die before birth in the womb itself because of delayed access to emergency obstetric services.
It is the responsibility of the government to provide free health facilities to the people at their doorsteps during the time of need.
MURLI DHAR Karachi