More than two million women, girls still live with fistula: UN

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While access to reproductive and maternal health care is expanding, local custom keeps Fereshta (above), like many women in Afghanistan, from seeking timely emergency obstetric care. Credit: UNFPA

More than two million women and girls still live with a preventable injury that happens during childbirth known as fistula and up to 100,000 new cases develop each year.

That's the warning issued by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) on the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, observed every year on 23 May.

The condition which leaves women incontinent and shunned by their communities has largely been eliminated in developed countries.

Ana Carmo has the story.

Women who suffer from obstetric fistula often endure depression, isolation and deepening poverty, says UNFPA.

Obstetric fistula is a hole between the birth canal and the bladder or rectum caused by prolonged, obstructed labour without treatment.

Delaying the age of first pregnancy, avoiding harmful traditional practices, and receiving medical attention in time can help women avoid this condition, the agency explains.

 "With strong political leadership, investment and action, we can end this scourge in our lifetime," UNFPA Executive Director, Babatunde Osotimehin, said in his message for the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula.

This year’s theme is 'Hope, healing and dignity for all,' with a special focus on those most left behind, excluded and shunned by society.

Ana Carmo, United Nations.

Duration: 50″

 

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