Bad Births, Bad Bodies: Obstetric Fistula and Treatment Seeking in Niger

Colloquium, SAR Boardroom

Wednesday, November 9, 2016, 12:00–1:00 pm, Free

Alison HellerAlison HellerAlison Heller

Alison Heller, Assistant Research Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Maryland—College Park, and Campbell Resident Scholar, SAR


In the West African country of Niger, 1 in 23 women will die from maternal causes and 5-13 more will survive with chronic disabilities. One particular injury, obstetric fistula — caused by prolonged obstructed labor and resulting in chronic incontinence — is all too common. How are women who suffer from fistula represented in the Global North? Does it matter? What is the lived experience of chronic incontinence? Can surgery make a difference? How do local networks of care expand or contract in times of illness? Based on 18 months of research in Niger, this talk will explore these questions.




Videography by John Sadd.

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