Letter: Consider supporting the Fistula Foundation, which helps women get transformative surgeries

FILE - In this Oct. 22, 2011, file photo, a doctor examines a pregnant woman. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh, File)

The equivalent of five jumbo jets’ worth of women die in childbirth each day worldwide, but this issue is almost never covered. It is estimated about 536,000 women die in pregnancy and childbirth a year. That is one maternal death every minute.

For every woman who dies in childbirth, at least ten suffer significant injuries such as serious tearing or fistulas. A fistula forms a connection or hole between two organs, connecting the vagina and bladder or vagina and rectum. A fistula is the result of prolonged childbirth without proper medical care, such as a C-section. Not only does their baby most likely die, the fistula will cause incontinence problems with continuous dribbling urine or foul smelling gas and stool. This medical problem cannot be solved without a fistula repair surgery. It is estimated that 30,000 to 130,000 new cases of fistulas develop each year in Africa alone. Fistulas, left untreated, can lead to bacterial infections which can then lead to sepsis. Women who suffer from a fistula are often shunned and humiliated by society because of their leaking or smell and are unable to find work, and therefore suffer from poverty and starvation. In addition to all this, 90 percent of fistula patients have contemplated suicide.

The Fistula Foundation is a powerful force that supports women in getting these transformative surgeries, truly ministering to the world’s “modern day leper.” Through generous donations, $598 provides high-quality surgery that can cure a woman’s incontinence and restore her health. Since 2009, this organization has been able to provide over 60,000 surgeries to women in need. This organization partners with carefully selected hospitals and doctors that are trusted by the community to serve these women. With the giving season approaching, please consider donating at https://fistulafoundation.org/.

Katelynn Blair, Payson

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