Obstetric Fistula: The Challenge to Human Rights

International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Vol. 87, pp. 72-77, 2004

U Toronto, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 888771

7 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2006  

Rebecca J. Cook

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Bernard Dickens

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Abstract

Obstetric fistula can be explained to result from different causes. These holes in the tissue wall between the vagina and bladder and/or rectum are most prevalent in resource-poor countries, attributable to prolonged obstructed labour and absent or inaccessible remedial prenatal services. Obstructed labour is often due to small pelvic size, resulting from women's youth and premature childbearing and/or malnutrition. Poverty at national health-service and family levels often predisposes pregnant populations to suffer high rates of fistula. Global estimates showing up to 100,000 new cases each year and 2 million affected girls and women are probably gross underestimates. Fistula devastates lives of sufferers, who are often expelled by husbands and become isolated from their families and communities. Failures of states to provide prenatal preventive care (including medically indicated cesarean deliveries) and timely fistula repair violate women's internationally recognized human rights, especially to healthcare in general and reproductive healthcare in particular.

Keywords: Fistula, Obstetric fistula, Human Rights, Women's human rights

JEL Classification: I31

Suggested Citation

Cook, Rebecca J. and Dickens, Bernard, Obstetric Fistula: The Challenge to Human Rights. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Vol. 87, pp. 72-77, 2004; U Toronto, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 888771. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=888771

Rebecca J. Cook

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 Queen's Park Cr.
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada
416-978-4446 (Phone)
416-978-7899 (Fax)

Bernard Dickens (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada
416-978-4849 (Phone)
416-978-7899 (Fax)

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