Orchid (Kenya)

By Mῦmbi Kaigwa

Obstetric fistula is a debilitating condition that affects up to 7000 women in Kenya each year. It is the medical term for a hole that develops between the tissues of a woman’s vagina and her bladder or rectum, and is often caused by lack of quality medical care during the birth process. It not only causes incontinence, but also brings social stigma and ostracism. Many women suffer from the condition without knowing it is both preventable and treatable.

This deeply moving play by celebrated Kenyan playwright, actress and journalist Mῦmbi Kaigwa is based on real women’s stories. It unveils the impact of this awful condition, the stigma surrounding obstetric fistula and its long term effect on women’s health.

“Among my people, in traditional times, the women would ululate to announce the birth of a child. Five ululations for a boy... and three for a girl.”

Read more about obstetric fistula and what can be done to prevent it in a blog by Dr Mary McCauley, Senior Clinical Research Associate at the Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health.