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Across the developing world, millions of women live with a debilitating medical condition borne out of poverty. Obstetric Fistula is caused by prolonged labour that, without suitable medical intervention, tears a whole in the woman's birth canal, allowing body wastes to leak. Without treatment, the woman is often isolated from her family and community.

The Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia treats 1,300 women a year. The second of our three films about Fistula takes us beyond the hospital to see the work being done in its rural clinics. We follow some of the outreach workers as well as one woman on her long and emotional journey home.

FROM THE FILMMAKER:

'"We're going to hold a maternity clinic," said senior midwife Sister Hirut as she collected her equipment and we left her health centre in Birakat, nothern Ethiopia. "It'll be a two hour walk." As we trudged through the Ethiopian countryside in the baking heat, it struck me that this was how far an expectant mother might have to walk - while in labour - to have a supervised birth at the health centre. It was no wonder so few bothered.'

Lara Akeju

Click here to watch the first of our films on Fistula, Fistula Hospital: Healing and Hope.

Click here to watch the final film in our three part series on Fistula, Fistula Hospital: Facing the future.

Maternal health is about more than just mothers and babies. Across the globe the very business of delivering life into the world is determined by power, politics and, all too frequently, poverty. 

Source: Al Jazeera