UN observes first International Day to End Obstetric Fistula

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A fistula patient lies on a hospital bed in Juba, Sudan. [UN Photo/Tim McKulka]

The United Nations observed the first International Day to End Obstetric Fistula on Thursday to draw attention to what has been described as a "nasty" condition caused by prolonged labour.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) says obstetric fistula is a preventable and in most cases treatable childbirth injury that leaves women incontinent, ashamed and often isolated from their communities.

According to the head of UNFPA, Babatunde Osotimehin, the condition is linked to poverty in many countries and happens in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Dr. Osothimehin says his agency is doing several things to tackle the problem of obstetric fistula.

"We are training more nurses and more health workers close to where people live so that they don't have to travel long distances before they get the service. We are also encouraging, as UNFPA ,pregnant women to be attended to during pregnancy. We recommend that every pregnant woman should have at least three or four ante-natal visits. That enables the health worker to assess what the possibilities are for the woman to be able to deliver properly." (29")

In his message, UN Secretary-General says success in dealing with obstetric fistula requires compassion, sensitivity and above all funds.

That is why, he adds, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is teaming up with partners to spearhead the Global Campaign to End Fistula.

Gerry Adams, United Nations

Duration: 1'36"

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