Vaginal Fistulas and Structural Disadvantage

  • Kathomi Gatwiri


This chapter discusses the systemic factors that perpetuate the development of fistulas: namely poverty, poor health infrastructure, and education. By analysing how the structural intersectionalities of vaginal fistulas compound, I will deconstruct the complexity of the ‘urine sickness’ (as referred to by the women) and illustrate how it permeates the daily lives of the affected women; and I will provide an alternative understanding of the condition from the richness of their narratives. In this chapter, I pay attention to not only how the women’s narratives contain commonalities but also differences that are unique, personal, and profound. Yet, I am aware that many other interpretations are possible: interpretations that do not broadly consider the intersecting forms of oppression related to gender, race, class, and disability (as their conditions become chronic). I am aware of the many challenges that may arise while attempting to ‘re-tell’, re-present, and reconstruct other people’s subjective experiences (Anderson and Jack 1991); however, my interpretive lens offers academic theorising and meaning—and sense-making—that the women studied may not be equipped to articulate.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Arts and Social SciencesSouthern Cross UniversityBilinga, CoolongataAustralia

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