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Women suffering from obstetric fistula face violence

Women suffering from obstetric fistula face violence

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16 Jan 2024 - 09:57
Women suffering from obstetric fistula face violence
author avatar
16 Jan 2024 - 09:57

KABUL (Pajhwok): Some women with obstetric fistula have said that after suffering falling victim to the disease, they faced different types of violence from their husbands which caused them serious psychological and social defects.

Obstetric fistula is one of the most serious and tragic childbirth injuries. A hole between the birth canal and bladder and/or rectum, it is caused by prolonged, obstructed labour without access to timely, high-quality medical treatment.

According to doctors, obstetric fistula is a big threat for girls who get married before time.

Marjan, not a real name, from the Marghab district of Badghis province, said from the past 12 years she suffered from obstetric fistula which made her life miserable.

This 33-year-old woman after surgery in Cure Hospital told Pajhwok Afghan News Fistula forced her to be isolated from the people and she felt ashamed because he was not able to control his feces and urine.

After a short stop in her explanation, although Marjan was unable to control her tears, she said by contracting this disease, besides losing her physical health and mental peace, she also lost the love and support of her husband.

She dried up her tears with her black shall and continued saying: “My husband says that you don’t get along and I will take a second wife, my life is ruined with you, we spent the amount of two wives on you, I will definitely take a second wife. My husband beat me a lot because of this disease, he says why are you saying to treat me”

She said her husband decided to get second wife by exchanging her 12-year-old daughter.

Marjan said in order to protect her daughter from being exchanged for her husband’s second wife and stop her husband from getting second wife she arranged some money for her treatment.

“I sewed clothes and collected some money, got 15,000 afs loan and sold my son’s mobile at 6,000 afs and come to this Cure Hospital for treatment, I come here with my 15-year-old son to conduct a surgery and get well.”

She said earlier, she conducted surgery in Pakistan and two times in Herat but she was not rehabilitated.

She is the mother of four children and said she was 10-year-old when her parents engaged her knot with a 40-year-old man against her well and after some times she got married.

She said till her 3rd child the birth took place normally but in fourth birth after few days of pain her child was born and simultaneously she was affected by fistula.

 Dr. Atya Sharif Nadi, In-charge of the Obstetric Fistula section in Cure Hospital, said that Marjan was married in small age then she had consecutive births and her fourth birth there was some problems and she suffered from obstetric fistula.

She added this time here operation was successful.

But this is not only Marjan who suffer from obstetric fistula and this disease made her life mesriable, Rukhshan is another young woman who suffers from similar problem.

“Eigh years ago when I came to the hospital for delivery, doctors said that I have to go surgery because I had twins, one died and another was born and since then I have this disease.”

She also complained against the bad behavior of her husband and said: “My husband doesn’t treat me well, he says the doctor pulled out your baby (womb), you won’t have children anymore, you can’t hold your urine, I’m going to marry another woman.”

She continued her story and added: “Eight years ago my husband took me and my children to my mother house and left us there.”

In these eight years that she has been with her son in her mother’s house, her husband has not asked about her well-being even once, and now her mother’s family is treating her.

She said her life was full of painful stories but she did not want to made her life more miserable by recalling them.

Facts and figures

Dr. Sharafat Zaman, spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Health, said the only centre of obstetric fistula treatment was the Malalay Maternity Hospital but primary treatment of this disease was available in all hospitals.

He said exact number of patients suffering from this disease could not be registered.

But Dr. Pashton Kohistani, fistula trainer and specialist at Malalay Hospital, said since 2006 as many as 3,500 obstetric fistula patients had been treated free of cost in Malalay Hospital.

According to Dr. Nadi, 2,800 patients had been treated since 2006 in Cure Hospital.

Treatment is vital

Dr. Pashton Kohistani, Obstetric Fistula Trainer and Specialist, said fistula is one of the vaginal disease that happened due to disorder during child birth therefore women should not be blamed for this disease.

She said: “I request men and family elders that no woman wants her life to be ruined, because this condition (maternal fistula) occurs unintentionally and they (women with this disease) should not be mistreated.”

She stressed when a woman gets this disease, she should be treated because this disease can only be treated through surgery.

Referring to the violence faced by women due to obstetric fistula patients, she said that a woman suffering from this disease and had her surgery in this hospital three months ago had decided to commit suicide because of her husband’s cruelty, but she refrained from doing so as suicide is forbidden in Islam.

Islam encourages decent behavior with women and their treatment

Religious Scholar Dr. Noorullah Kawsar, one of the religious scholars, said decent behavior with women and their treatment was the men’s responsibility according to the teachings of Islam.

He said women suffering from Maternal Fistula should not be blamed for their disease because they had no role to play in this regard.

It is necessary and obligatory for husbands to support and treat their sick wives – instead of humiliating, insulting or facing various threats.

“Husband cannot run away from burden and simply drop responsibility from their shoulders and say that this disease did not happen to you and I have no business, or threaten the wife that why this fistula was created in you. At this time, it is obligatory for the man to have mercy, compassion and kindness on woman, because the highest hope of a woman during illness and disabilities is her husband.”

Dr. Malalay Rahim Faizi, head of the Malalay Maternity Hospital, said that people should be made aware about Fistula and the Ministry of Public Health was committed to spread message to the people in this regard.

Women should be informed about obstetric fistula in all health centers, especially health centers in remote areas, and these centers should refer patients with obstetric fistula to the Malalay Maternity Hospital

She said these patients get free of cost treatment and after rehabilitation they are provided with transportation fares also by the hospital.


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