|Habiba Cooper Diallo at the Word On The Street 2011|
The book in review, Shimider Fistula: Obstructed Labour, written by Habiba Cooper originally started as an 8th grade short story writing assignment. When speaking with Habiba about inspired her to write such story, this is what she had to say:
Obstetric fistula is a childbirth driven illness that results from an obstructed labour. The physical effects it has on the mother includes incontinence, genital ulceration, nerve damage and infections that can ultimately result in death if not treated. The baby is almost always still born due to lack of oxygen during labour. Fistula also has many extreme social and psychological implications. Most women affected by it are ostracized and abandoned by their communities due to the sever conditions it leaves them in, notably incontinence. This gives rise to psychological issues and many women resort to suicide. However, what is most disheartening about it all is that obstetric fistula is a completely preventative illness. The women who are fistula patients lack adequate health care facilities. I was inspired to become an advocate for the issue about 4 years ago when I read an article about a young girl, Anafghat Ayouba, who suffered an obstetric fistula . Her story was very heart-rending this today I am passionate about creating public awareness about the issue to see the eradication of fistula.
Habiba has been speaking on this issue through her soon to be released book during the Word On The Street 2011 Festival . She captured the audience while reading her story with a great passion for this issue. The story is based in Ethiopia and it describes the journey of a woman who is pregnant and, while accompanied by two youngens, a boy and a girl, she is finally making it to the hospital to deliver the baby who has died on the way before she got the chance to give birth. Although the woman has a great chance at attaining medical attention for her obstetric fistula which she acquired through her painful labour, many women from these part of the world are not aware of the medical attention that they can receive to prevent and treat obstetric fistula. Generally women live in shame and segregated by the other citizen often living with a stigma of shame.
The fact that someone as young as Habiba, a 15 years old, had taken upon herself to talk about this issue so openly it is a reason to admire today's youth. I hope to see a change and I am confident that her book will create the awareness needed for us to talk about this issue that women in under developed countries are facing in today's society. Please stay tuned for the upcoming book. Details to follow. Until then, if you would like to know more about fistula you can check out this link from The Fistula Foundation.
If you are wondering why I used this topic to talk about for the Black History Month well, here is why:
- Habiba is a very involved African/Caribbean/Canadian youth in the issues pertaining not only to fistula but to the Black history in general.
- Fistula is an issue predominantly taking place in sun-Saharan Africa and Asia.