Tuesday, February 24, 2009

After a Devastating Birth Injury, Hope

Tanzania — Lying side by side on a narrow bed, talking and giggling and poking each other with skinny elbows, they looked like any pair of teenage girls trading jokes and secrets.

But the bed was in a crowded hospital ward, and between the moments of laughter, Sarah Jonas, 18, and Mwanaidi Swalehe, 17, had an inescapable air of sadness.

Pregnant at 16, both had given birth in 2007 after labor that lasted for days.
Their babies had died, and the prolonged labor had inflicted a dreadful injury on the mothers: an internal wound called a fistula, which left them incontinent and soaked in urine.

See also: an interesting Audio slide show.