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Obstetric fistula may be a thing of the past in the UK today, but this wasn’t always the case as Call the Midwife on BBC One showed this week.

In episode three of series nine (available to watch on BBC iplayer here)  Nurse Crane and Doctor Turner come across a recent immigrant from Bangladesh, Farzina Mohammed, who is struggling with a fistula.

Farzina tells Nurse Crane she had recently given birth but had an obstructed labour that lasted four days and the baby had tragically died. She explains that was three months before and ever since she has been struggling with incontinence and that her family are angry with her because ‘the smell is very bad’.

Farzina’s story tragically is a reality for thousands of women in Ethiopia each year. Many women in Ethiopia suffer for much longer before they are able to get help, women like Beburuyosh who lived with fistula for a staggering 18 years.

This year alone, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia’s world specialist surgeons expect to provide major reconstructive surgery to over 850 women with fistula, giving them their lives back.

We thank Call the Midwife creator Heidi Thomas and Neal Street Productions for shining a light on fistula to new audiences and helping raise awareness of this devastating condition.


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