Millions of women and girls in the world affected by obstetric fistula

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Several million women in the developing world are affected by obstetric fistula, with 50 to 100 000 new cases each year, according to the United Nations.

Obstetric fistula is an injury that occurs during prolonged, obstructed labour, resulting in chronic incontinence and, in most cases, a stillborn baby.

The International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, marked every year on 23 May, helps raise awareness and intensify actions towards ending obstetric fistula.

The UN's Population Fund (UNFPA) has been leading a global campaign to end fistula.

Dr Michaque Martin Tembe, who works with the campaign, has cared for many child-brides in Mozambique.

He said adolescents are especially at risk since they are not physically mature to bear children.

"These child marriages are a big problem because the girls are just not prepared for pregnancy. Not only are their bodies not ready but they are also not able to make the best choices for the baby"

Discouraging early child-bearing and access to reproductive health services are reportedly crucial to ending fistula.

So far, the results are promising with more than 27 000 woman having received fistula treatment.

Sophie Outhwaite, United Nations.

Duration: 1’21″

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