Maseru – The successful treatment of obstetric fistula gives sense of hope, healing, and restored dignity to women, as well as their loved ones.
This was stated by the United Nations Population Fund UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin on the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, saying women who ever suffered from fistula, should never have endured the decades of discomfort and shame that could have been easily prevented.
Dr. Osotimehin said the theme for this year, “Hope, healing, and dignity for all”, is a call to realise the fundamental human rights of women and girls everywhere, with a special focus on those most left behind, excluded and shunned by society.
He highlighted that ending fistula is a high priority for the UNFPA adding that it has been virtually eliminated in the world’s wealthier countries, and strong health systems and greater efforts to address the underlying issues that perpetuate it, including poverty, gender inequality, early marriage and childbearing, and lack of education, are crucial.
Working with partners in the Campaign to End Fistula, UNFPA has made progress towards eliminating fistula through prevention, treatment and social reintegration, and has supported more than 85,000 fistula repair surgeries since 2003, as well as more than 15,000 cases in 2016 alone.
An obstetric fistula is a hole between the vagina and rectum or bladder that is caused by prolonged obstructed labour, leaving a woman incontinent of urine or faeces or both.