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Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Good but depressing story in the New York Times today, "Nightmare for African Women: Birthing Injury and Little Help". The article discusses an unfortunately common birthing injury that has been virtually unknown in the U.S. for over a hundred years, but happens all too often in Africa:
What brings the girls to Dr. Waaldijk - and him to Nigeria - is the obstetric nightmare of fistulas, unknown in the West for nearly a century. Mostly teenagers who tried to deliver their first child at home, the girls failed at labor. Their babies were lodged in their narrow birth canals, and the resulting pressure cut off blood to vital tissues and ripped holes in their bowels or urethras, or both.
My only complaints about the article are that it implies that the problem is getting worse but it provides no trend data, it doesn't mention private groups, like Fistula Hospital, that are working to help and it doesn't even bother to link to its own columnist, Nicholas Kristof, who wrote some excellent columns on this very subject.

I donated $250 to Fistula Hospital last year and plan to do so again this year. It's a great charity, literally putting poor African women back on their feet, a true hand up instead of a hand out, and it's very well run by some great, dedicated people.


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