Usually the result of complications during delivery, a fistula is an opening between the bladder and the vagina, or between the rectum and the vagina. Women become incontinent, and are often shunned from their societies and families as a result. They can also suffer additional medical consequences. Access to pre-natal care and interventions to assist with complicated labor, including C-sections are essential to preventing fistulas.
Usually the result of complications during delivery, a fistula is an opening between the bladder and the vagina, or between the rectum and the vagina. Women become incontinent, and are often shunned from their societies and families as a result. They can also suffer additional medical consequences. In 2010, MSF teams operated on and treated about 1,000 women suffering from fistulas, in permanent structures and in "fistula camps." In November, MSF ran a fistula camp in Boguila, western Central African Republic.
Violent conflict between government forces and armed groups in and around the town of Pinga, North Kivu Province, keeps local people trapped and unable to access medical care. MSF works in Pinga and send health workers on motorbikes to find people in urgent need of assistance.
People in southern Sudan, including the border area of Abyei, are grappling with chronic malnutrition, epidemics, and deadly diseases—on top of the continuing violence. MSF's presence in the region is extremely important, but escalating tensions have blocked people's access to what little health care is available.
MSF has been treating women with cholera who are in labor and in the late stages of pregnancy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, since November. Many of the women have lost their babies due to the effects of cholera.
MSF teams continue to see an increase in cases of suspected cholera across Haiti, from the Artibonite Region, where the outbreak originated, in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and in areas of the far north. In this audio slideshow, MSF medical advisor Dr. David Olson says the deadly but easily treatable and preventable disease is likely to continue its scourge for months to come. Photos by Ron Haviv, Moises Saman, Jake Price, and Gregory Vandendaelen.
Responding to the widespread and massive needs for cholera treatment in Haiti is a daunting task. MSF continues to treat high numbers of patients in the Artibonite region, where the outbreak originated.