195273 Losing control: The experience of traumatic fistula in war-torn Congo

Monday, November 9, 2009

Andrea Ben-David, MS , Global Public Health, New York University, Brooklyn, NY
Rebecca Adeskavits, MPA , Global MPH Program, New York university, New York, NY
Cheryl Barber, MS , Global MPH Program, New York University, New York, NY
Narissa Puran, MS, MPH , Global MPH Program, New York University, New York, NY
The war torn Democratic Republic of Congo is a region where rape is used as a weapon of war. Traumatic gynecologic fistula is a condition that frequently results from violent rape. Subsequently, many women and their communities are affected by this problem. Stephen Lewis, former UN Special Envoy for AIDS in Africa (2007) described this violence against women as a litany of horror, the likes of which, nowhere else on the planet, is visited on women and girls. In recent years, the prevalence of traumatic fistula has risen dramatically in areas most affected by the conflict, despite humanitarian intervention. Consequences of traumatic fistula range from individual, physical effects, to those psychosocial, familial and communal. Although fistula surgery has a high success rate, numerous barriers prevent affected individuals from accessing treatment. This poster defines traumatic gynecologic fistula, its devastating effects, barriers to treatment, and potential intervention.

Learning Objectives:
Identify the origins of rape as a weapon of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Describe 3 medical consequences of traumatic fistula. Articulate 3 psychosocial affects of traumatic fistula. Identify 5 barriers to effective treatment of traumatic fistula in the DRC.

Keywords: Violence, Women

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As a graduate student in the Master's in Global Public Health program at NYU, I had the opportunity to participate in numerous research projects last semester. This poster was one such project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.