Women’s Health


Goal: To reduce the prevalence of obstetric fistulas among women by providing specialized surgical treatment, training and awareness.

The birth of a child should be joyful. But for many women in developing nations, it’s the beginning of a downward spiral into pain, loneliness and poverty. For those without access to routine medical or surgical care during and after delivery, chronic medical issues such as incontinence can lead to spousal abandonment and community ostracism.

These medical problems – vesicovaginal fistulas and rectovaginal fistulas – are relatively unknown in western countries where caesarean sections are widely available. These fistulas occur during prolonged or difficult labor, and they can have devastating physical, emotional and spiritual consequences.

Mercy Ships doctors, nurses and other caring volunteers provide a holistic approach to treatment. In addition to medical treatment, we shower them with love, acceptance and head-to-toe healing. Mercy Ships has a special way of celebrating their return to society — we hold hold a joyous ceremony and give each woman a new dress that symbolizes her beauty. The women leave the ship with follow-up instructions and knowledge to take back to other women in their communities.