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 an observance aimed at raising awareness for a medical issue that disproportionately affects underprivileged women in developing countries. The goal is to end obstetric fistula, by ensuring universal access to quality sexual and reproductive health services, and promoting investments in prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation efforts. Obstetric fistula is a serious childbirth injury that occurs when a hole develops between the vagina and rectum or bladder, resulting in chronic incontinence and other complications.

The United Nations (UN) first designated this annual observance in 2013 to address the global issue of obstetric fistula. This day serves as an important reminder that developing countries often lack access to adequate healthcare resources, and draws our attention to organisations and initiatives that work tirelessly to support these disadvantaged communities. By supporting these endeavours, UK citizens can help make a difference in combating the incidence of obstetric fistula and improving access to healthcare facilities, ensuring women's wellbeing and dignity both during and after childbirth.

The International Day to End Obstetric Fistula is observed in the UK through various awareness campaigns, educational events, and fundraising activities. These can involve charity runs, debates, and informative sessions to promote public engagement with the global issue of obstetric fistula. This observance takes place on 23rd May, with organisations such as the United Nations advocating for increased international efforts in addressing obstetric fistula.

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.
  • While obstetric fistula isn't a significant issue in the UK today, Britain has played a significant role in addressing the problem historically and continues to contribute to global efforts to end obstetric fistula worldwide.
  • The UK is a strong advocate for women's rights, gender equality, and the provision of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, which are essential components in the fight against obstetric fistula.

Top things to do in the UK 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 raise awarness about obsteric fistula. Organizations such as The Fistula Foundation and Hamlin Fistula UK host charity runs, walks or auctions for this observance.
  • Read a book about women's health to better understand obsteric fistula. Some suggestions include:
    1. Obstetric Fistula: Guiding Principles for Clinical Management and Programme Development by M. L. Wall
    2. Reproductive Health and Human Rights: The Way Forward edited by Laura Reichenbach and Mindy Jane Roseman
    3. Maternal and Infant Deaths: Chasing Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 by Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG)

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