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In the News

New Book Takes In-Depth Look At Preventable Injury Leaving Poor Women Devastated

February 23, 2018

Schaumburg, Ill. – A new book about obstetric fistula is helping to eradicate the traumatic injury it describes.

I wrote “Tears for My Sisters: The Tragedy of Obstetric Fistula” to help bring greater public awareness to the heart-wrenching reality of obstetric injury among the world’s poorest women,” author Dr. L. Lewis Wall said. “The discrepancies in maternal health, childbirth injuries and death between the women of advanced industrial countries and those women among the “bottom billion” is greater than almost any other public health indicator.

Dr. Lewis Wall

More than two million women worldwide are living with fistula, according to the United Nations Population Fund. Fistula is an injury developed during prolonged, obstructed labor. The constant pressure of the impacted fetal head destroys healthy, normal tissues, leaving a hole between the woman’s vagina and bladder or rectum. This condition leaves her leaking urine or feces constantly. Obstetric fistula is most prevalent in poor, developing countries where women and girls do not have access to quality healthcare.

Worldwide Fistula Fund (WFF) will receive 100 percent of the book royalties. WFF was founded in 1995 by Wall to help women and girls suffering from obstetric fistula.

Wall has more than 20 years of experience as a fistula surgeon and advocate. He said he first learned about fistula while working as an anthropologist in northern Nigeria in the 1970s.

Wall said he realized the world needed doctors more than it needed anthologists, so he returned to the United States and attended medical school at the University of Kansas. He sub-specializes in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery.

“Tears for My Sisters” was published this month. It traces the history of obstetric injury, all the way back to ancient Egyptian Queen Henhenit, the first identifiable fistula case on record.

In addition to describing the process by which fistulas occur, the book tells the story of the development of the obstetrical and gynecological operations that can prevent and cure these injuries.

The book also describes the socio-economic and political conditions in poor countries that continue to allow this devastating injury to persist.

Obstetric fistula is one of the great neglected issues in contemporary global social justice. Every woman, no matter where she lives or what her social circumstances are, has a fundamental right to safe childbirth. Achieving this goal should be a priority for all people everywhere. Only public pressure will produce the political will necessary to effect such change around the world. We cannot allow these circumstances to continue.

Dr. Lewis Wall

Paper and electronic copies of “Tears for My Sisters” are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other places books are purchased. All the book royalties will be donated to WFF to help women and girls suffering from this devastating injury.

“Tears for My Sisters” is published by the Johns Hopkins University Press.

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