A fistula fighter
Abbo Hassan Abbo opened Sudan's only fistula centre, Ahmed Abbas discovers
Vesicovaginal or rectovaginal fistula is a devastating disease that still affects many women in the developing world in which a mother's vagina and her bladder or rectum are abnormally connected. This is a result of the baby's head causing pressure necrosis of the vagina during prolonged obstructed labour. When the baby is eventually delivered it is usually dead. Obstetric fistula contributes substantially to maternal morbidity and mortality.
I faced many difficulties, but I never thought of giving up. I was happy to spend all my time with patients with fistula. One difficulty was a severe shortage of nurses. I had to use patients themselves as nurses for a year. It was fantastic: I would tell a patient, “I am going to operate on this patient, your neighbour. If anything happens afterwards call for me immediately.” The next morning, the woman in charge would tell me every detail about the other