In the field of sexual and reproductive health, one should also mention obstetric fistula, which continues to have devastating effects on the lives of millions of women, particularly in Africa. Fistula also leads to women who suffer from it being stigmatized in their communities and even rejected by their own families. According to the Health Community of East, Central and Southern Africa, it is estimated that in the rural areas of Ethiopia alone there are at least 100,000 women with fistula, and many develop the affliction at an early age. Another tragic factor that causes fistula is sexual violence, for example in areas of conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo or the one that occurred during the post-electoral turmoil in Kenya in 2007.

Every year there are at least 50,000 to 100,000 new cases of fistula. Reliable data are scarce because of the stigma attached to those who suffer from it, but the disease is more common in poor communities and Sub-Saharan Africa where there is limited access to medical services during pregnancy and childbirth.

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