International Day to End Obstetric Fistula

23 May 2020

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Obstetric fistula is one of the most serious and tragic injuries that can occur during childbirth. It is a hole between the birth canal and the bladder or rectum caused by prolonged, obstructed labor without treatment.

The condition typically leaves women incontinent, and as a result they are often shunned by their communities. Sufferers often endure depression, social isolation and deepening poverty. Many women live with the condition for years – or even decades – because they cannot afford to obtain treatment.

On 18 December 2014, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on obstetric fistula. The resolution calls on the international community to intensify technical and financial support to maternal health efforts, including action to eliminate fistula.

The resolution also calls for improved registration and follow-up for fistula survivors to improve their access to medical treatment and to ensure they are able to receive obstetric care during future pregnancies.

It was co-sponsored by more than 150 Member States and was adopted by consensus.

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