| English Website
since June 16, 2005
Seminar, October 6th, 2007 at
Tokyo Women's Plaza in Omotesando
5PM to 6:30PM
JY1,000 per participant,
Welcome to Fistula Japan's Official Website - English Version
Michiko Nakayama, a well-travelled small business
owner based in Tokyo, Japan, founder of Fistula Japan, first learnt about
obstetric fistula in 2004 through watching "Oprah" while in
the States, when Nobel Peace Prize nominee Dr. Catherine Hamlin, co-founder
and Director of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital (AAFH) appeared as guest
to the widely-viewed TV program.
Michiko had never heard of obstetric fistula before. That's because it
doesn't get reported in Japan. When she did a quick internet search in
Japanese and found that there was not much information out there, she
decided it was time to start her own website.
What is Fistula? Fistula in general is an unwanted hole in any
body organ and can develop in various parts of the body. Obstetric fistula
here in question is a result of prolonged obstructed labour (sometimes
up to a week) that often ends in the baby being stillborn as well as the
mother left with permanently damaged tissues. This results in incontinence,
infections and sometimes damage to the limbs.
Women, or in many cases, young girls with underdeveloped pelvises, who
are left with fistula will often not only lose the baby but also their
husband and even family due to her inability to keep herself clean. Many
patients are illiterate and without independent means of economic support.
As such, they are often left to lead a lonely, lonely life, sometimes
not knowing that there might be a cure, or that they may be able to avail
themselves to it without charge.
The AAFH has treated many such fistula patients
since it opened doors in 1974, those lucky enough to have been able to
raise enough money to come up to the nation's capital city for a repair
surgery. Actually, Dr. Catherine Hamlin and her husband, Dr. Reginald
Hamlin (now deceased), have been treating fistula patients for free since
Sometimes even called a "saint," the ever-energetic Dr. Catherine
Hamlin continues to operate as well as travel widely for fundraising and
awareness campaigns to this day.
Although Fistula Japan recognizes the fact that obstetric fistula is a
problem in many underdeveloped countries across Africa and Asia, the fledgling
organization has at this time decided to dedicate its efforts to supporting
AAFH, in recongition of the visionary role that the hospital and its founders
have played (and continue to play) in order to alleviate the traumatic
discomforts experienced by fistula patients, as well as to be an effective
advocate for them.
One of the things worth mentioning that makes the AAFH so special is the
fact that individual patients are given not just obstetric care but a
new life. The UNFPA's End Fistula Campaign estimates the cost of one repair
surgery to be around $300, whereas, at the AAFH, the budget per patient
is on the average $450. And why is that?
That cost for the AAFH includes not only the surgery and bed and board,
typically two weeks, but phyisiotherapy for those who need it, literacy
and craft classes as part of a vocational training, transportation costs
to and back from the hospital, as well as a new dress. The hospital knows
that sometimes the family has sold a cow or had to wait till harvest to
raise the bus fare to the capital city, often a prohibitive amount of
cash procured with much sacrifce. And what better way for a woman to celebrate
the beginning of her new life than to be given a colorful new dress?
We will be expanding our English pages in the near future
for those of you who are based in Japan but are more comfortable reading
English, as well as for members of the international community who would
like to be kept posted of Fistula Japan's activities and the state of
fistula awareness in Japan. Don't hesitate to contact us for further information
or assistance, whether you are a journalist, activist, or an individual
who simply wants to help!
June 17, 2005
Michiko Nakayama, MPH, Harvard School of Public Health
SA Scholar '97, College Women's Association of Japan
Vice President, Business Development, Maripoza Co., Ltd.
Founder and Director, Fistula Japan
| Great bio from Dr. Hamlin, The Hospital
by the River now on sale from Amazon.co.jp.
c/o Maripoza Co., Ltd.
1-23-13, Higashi-Izumi, Komae-Shi, Tokyo Japan
Office Phone 03-5282-3049
Office Fax 03-4496-6059
country code: 81 (dial 81-3 then local number)
Email Director Michiko Directly: