The obstetric fistula problem in West Africa immediately grabbed my attention for two reasons: why are women being ostracized for a medical condition that they couldn’t have brought upon themselves? And why do so few of them have access to the medical care that they need? Hundreds of thousands of women in West Africa are living with a horrible but treatable condition simply because they cannot find or afford the proper health care. The worst part, in my mind, is that women with obstetric fistula are conditioned to believe that it is their fault, that they somehow caused this problem for themselves. Along with medical treatment, these women need to be told that they did not do this and that they are not responsible in order to have their dignity and self-worth restored.
I volunteered to help the Worldwide Fistula Fund to address this cause because I feel that it is vital to raise awareness for issues involving a group of people’s quality of life. This problem has a solution and only needs support to be rectified. Getting these women the health care they so desperately need puts them back in a position to live a healthy life and return to their families and communities. Organizations such as the WFF are working towards this goal for as many women as possible, but the number of woman that can be reached can only stretch as far as the awareness for the issue. Contributing to funding for medical care for these women is assisting them in returning to the normal and healthy life that everyone deserves. Take action today.
Editor’s Note: Lauren is an intern at the Worldwide Fistula Fund. She is a double major in journalism and metropolitan studies at New York University.