International Day to End Obstetric Fistula

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2024 DateMay 23, 2024
2025 DateMay 23, 2025

International Day to End Obstetric Fistula

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International Day to End Obstetric Fistula

The International Day to End Obstetric Fistula is a global observance aimed at raising awareness and promoting efforts to combat a condition that afflicts many expectant mothers in the developing world. Obstetric fistula is a severe medical condition that occurs when a hole develops between the birth canal and the bladder or rectum of a woman due to prolonged or obstructed labor without treatment. This often results in chronic physical and psychological complications, including incontinence, social isolation, and increased risk of maternal disability or death. By recognizing this day, the global community demonstrates its commitment to ensuring that all women have access to quality maternal health care, and that those suffering from fistula receive proper treatment and support.

The United Nations designated this day in 2013, based on the Campaign to End Fistula initiated in 2003 by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and its partners. As a member of the global community, Canada plays an important role in supporting initiatives to end obstetric fistula, pledging financial and technical assistance to organizations working on maternal health in the developing world.

As a nation that values health care as a fundamental right, Canada often participates in the observance of the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula through educational events, fundraising campaigns, and social media awareness programs. The International Day to End Obstetric Fistula is observed on May 23rd.

Facts about International Day to End Obstetric Fistula

  • The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates that there are around two million women living with untreated obstetric fistula worldwide.
  • According to the WHO, about 50,000 to 100,000 women worldwide are affected by obstetric fistula each year.
  • In Canada, Obstetric Fistula is more common among immigrant women, particularly women from countries where the condition is more prevalent.
  • The current treatment for Obstetric Fistula in Canada includes surgical repair, with a success rate of over 90% if the surgery is performed by an experienced surgeon.

Top things to do in Canada for this observance

  • Read several stories about women who have dealt with obstetric fistula.
  • Learn more about the campaign to end Fistula and how you can help.
  • Watch a fim that showcases the challenges faced by women with obstetric fistula and the impact of treatment and prevention efforts. One suggestion is the film A Walk to Beautiful, which tells the stories of five Ethiopian women who regain their health and lives after receiving treatment for obstetric fistula.
  • Read a book about obsteric fistula today. Some suggestions include:
    1. The Hospital by the River: A Story of Hope by Catherine Hamlin and John Little - This book tells the story of Dr. Catherine Hamlin, who co-founded the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia to help women suffering from Obstetric Fistula.
    2. Obstetric Fistula: Guiding Principles for Clinical Management and Programme Development by Andrew Browning and L. Lewis Wall - This book provides a comprehensive overview of Obstetric Fistula's clinical care, management, and prevention strategies.

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