When a woman goes into a prolonged, obstructed labor without access to trained medical assistance, she can suffer an obstetric fistula. This life-altering but largely preventable condition causes a woman to leak urine or feces and can result in isolation, depression, and poverty.
After Terrewode completes surgery to repair a woman’s fistula, it offers a Reintegration Program to help her fully heal from the trauma and successfully integrate into her community. This pioneering two-week program includes counseling, safe motherhood education, family planning education and services, and other social reintegration support. All participants also receive life skills, microfinance, and income-generating training with five modules. After graduating from the program, women have launched businesses in soapmaking, tailoring, baking, hairdressing, mechanics, and other areas.
One of the program’s most impactful benefits: After completing this innovative program, a survivor join a solidarity groups and serve her community. She may refer for treatment other women suffering from fistulas. She also educates and advocates in her community. Since fistulas can largely be prevented—by delaying the age of first pregnancy, stopping female genital mutilation, and offering timely access to quality obstetric care—this outreach can go a long way toward preventing other women from suffering from fistulas.