International Day to End Obstetric Fistula

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2024 Date23 May 2024
2025 Date23 May 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 day aimed at raising awareness and garnering support to end the devastating medical condition, obstetric fistula. Affecting more than two million women and girls worldwide, obstetric fistula is a childbirth injury that results in incontinence, social stigma, and lifelong suffering, often pushing the victims into a life of isolation and poverty. In India, this day serves as an opportunity to strengthen healthcare systems and address the socio-economic factors that contribute to this debilitating condition, which predominantly affects women in rural and impoverished communities.

First observed in 2013 by the United Nations, the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula highlights the need to increase investments to improve maternal health, address gender inequality, and eliminate the root causes of fistula. The issue remains critical in India, as the country accounts for a significant proportion of the global burden of obstetric fistula cases. With the collaborative efforts of UN agencies, local governments, and NGOs, India has made considerable strides in enhancing access to quality maternal health care, including timely interventions like caesarean sections, to potentially reduce the risk of obstetric fistula.

As we recognize the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula on May 23, it is crucial to remember that this life-shattering condition is preventable and treatable. By continuing to strengthen healthcare services, empowering women, and advocating for better maternal care and rights, India can effectively work towards a future free from the devastating impact of obstetric fistula for millions of vulnerable women and girls.

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.
  • The exact number of women suffering from Obstetric Fistula in India is unknown, but it is estimated that around 20,000 new cases occur each year and many more going unreported.
  • The main causes of obstetric fistula in India include early marriage and childbearing, limited access to maternal healthcare services, lack of skilled birth attendants, inadequate emergency obstetric care, and high rates of malnutrition leading to underdeveloped pelvic bones.

Top things to do in India 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.
  • Participate in a local fundraiser to collect funds for the treatment, rehabilitation, and reintegration of women living with obstetric fistula. These events may involve cultural programs, auctions, or sporting events to promote the fight of obsteric fistula.
  • Read about the issue of obsteric fistula in India. Some suggestions include:
    1. The Obstetric Fistula: In Pursuit of a Dream by Ajay Rane and Lalit Bhardwaj
    2. Poverty and VVF (Vesico-Vaginal Fistula): An In-Depth Study of the Social Impact of Obstetric Fistula on Women in India by Kalpana Mehta
    3. A Silent Sufferer - Awareness, Attitude, and Prevention of Obstetric Fistula: Case Study Findings from India by Garima Bhakti

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