"'This is a terrible illness. I thought I should kill myself. You can't walk with people or travel. You can't sleep comfortably or eat well. You can't work because you are constantly in pain. You are always sad because you stain everything and you smell,' a 33-year-old woman who had lived with obstetric fistula for 17 years told Human Rights Watch. Obstetric fistula is a preventable and treatable debilitating childbirth injury that leaves its victims constantly leaking urine and feces. Thousands of women and girls unnecessarily get fistula each year in Kenya, while many more are living with untreated fistula. This happens because of government failure to provide sufficient and well resourced health facilities with the capacity to handle obstetric complications, to inform women that their condition can be treated, and the high cost of fistula repair. The Kenya government has taken some positive steps to make pregnancy and childbirth safer for women. However, as this report shows through the voices of fistula survivors, the policy responses are not adequately reaching the women and girls they are supposed to help, and there is urgent need to reevaluate and scale-up many of the responses. 'I Am Not Dead, But I Am Not Living' finds that strengthening health system accountability--giving people accessible and effective ways of providing feedback, lodging complaints, providing redress, and ensuring that the feedback leads to improvements--can greatly enhance the health system by allowing the people it serves to tell the government what is working and what needs fixing. It also calls on the Kenyan government to develop and implement a national strategy on obstetric fistula."--P.  of cover.
"July 2010"--Table of contents page. "Agnes Odhiambo, researcher in the Women's Rights Division at Human Rights Watch, wrote this report based on research that she conducted with Janet Walsh, deputy director of the Women's Rights Division, in Kenya in November and December 2009."--P. 78.
Bibliography, etc. Note
Includes bibliographical references.
Formatted Contents Note
Summary Key recommendations to the Kenyan government Methodology Background Impact on the lives of women and girls in Kenya Kenya's obligations under international, regional, and national law Access to health information Availability and accessibility of services Patients' rights and health system accountability Detailed recommendations Appendix I Acknowledgements.
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