About V V F

The earliest evidence of a VVF was found in 1923 on the mummified body of Queen Henhenit (2050 BC). The first clear documented reference was reported in the Ebers papyrus in approximately 2000 BC

In The Gambia, early marriages are very common due to cultural reasons. As a result, girls often get pregnant and give birth at an age where their bodies are not yet sufficiently developed. Because of lack of medical care (in The Gambia is one doctor for 14.000 patients, in Germany 500) and poverty, childbirth complications occur often causing the women to be in labour for several days - even for women who have already given birth before. This often results in the baby being stillborn. These women have to suffer the loss of their babies and also injuries caused by difficult and prolonged labour.

The pressure from the child´s head on the bladder and the birth channel during a prolonged labour leads to reduced blood circulation. This causes the tissue to die off, which in turn results in fistulas forming between the vagina and bladder or intestine. The fistulas cause incontinence.

In addition to medical problems like prolonged infections, women affected by incontinence become social outcasts due to their body odour and physical limitations.

These women can have surgery and in most cases (about 90% ), damages can be corrected to such an extent that the women can get pregnant again,which is very important in their culture.