On the frontline: A day in Côte d'Ivoire
Clara van Gulik-Mackenzie spends a day observing Dr Bile as he performs fistula repairs in resource poor Côte d'Ivoire
“Come watch this,” indicated Dr Bile, proudly holding up his digital camera to show us a recording of one of his happy patients performing the famous “fistula dance.” The woman is all smiles, beaming as she shows off a waddling dance, which she can now perform without the worry of leaking urine. This dance has become a ritual that women perform the day they leave the hospital after surgery. The ritual signifies a new start to their lives after years in shame and hiding, a celebration of their reacceptance into their community and families, the joy of being reaccepted by their husbands, and most of all a sign of gratitude towards the man who gave them their freedom to live again.
Dr Bile is a gynaecologist with Médecins Sans Frontières. He is one of the few people in the world who can perform the procedure to repair obstetric fistulas, a