BBC: Rumours prevent women with obstetric fistula from seeking treatment (2)

4 April, 2019

Thanks Neil, several people were lynched in Madagascar in 2013 after a child was rumoured to have been found with his genitals and tongue removed. Further rumours spread about organ trafficking, the organ trade, paedophilia, witchcraft and other phenomena (see, for example, 'Lynching of Tourists' section in

You ask: "Are there similar rumours and false beliefs that prevent women from seeking care?"

In February it was reported in the English Guardian that ebola vaccinations were being offered in exchange for sexual favors in the Democratic Republic of Congo. No individual cases of sexual exploitation have been identified, but rumors persist.

The same rumours are mentioned more than a month later in an article in Science and Development Network ( and attributed to the Guardian.

You also ask: "How might these rumours be better addressed?". Perhaps, instead of reporting rumours in their original, sensationalized and consciously emotive forms, the media could examine stories for factual clarity, internal contradictions, coherence, etc, and withhold items that remain rumors even after rigorous scrutiny.

HIFA Profile: Simon Collery is an Independent Consultant working in Tanzania and is currently director of The Toa Nafasi Project, training young women to provide special needs education to children in their first and second year at Tanzanian state schools.

Email: collery AT