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International Day to End Obstetric Fistula
23 May

“Fistula is fully preventable when all women and girls have access to high-quality, comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services [...] Let us join forces to eliminate this global social injustice.”

Secretay-General Ban Ki-moon

A pregnant adolescent girl. A woman suffering from incontinence caused by obstetric fistula
Three young women patients wait to check-in for treatment, under a tent in the compound of the Fistula Unit of Zalingei Hospital in Sudan.


Obstetric fistula is a preventable and treatable childbearing injury - the result of prolonged, obstructed labour. It leaves women incontinent, ashamed and often isolated from their communities. A debilitating condition that has left — and continues to leave — hundreds of thousands of women suffering in solitude and shame, obstetric fistula is perhaps one of the most telling examples of inequitable access to maternal health care and, until recently, one of the most hidden.

Generally accepted estimates suggest that 2-3.5 million women live with obstetric fistula in the developing world, and between 50,000 and 100,000 new cases develop each year.

The Campaign to End Fistula, launched by UNFPA and partners in 2003 is now present in 50 countries across Africa, Asia and the Arab region.

In its resolution A/RES/67/147, the General Assembly calls on the international community to use the International Day to significantly raise awareness and intensify actions towards ending obstetric fistula.

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