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International Day to End Obstetric Fistula
23 May

“We have a moral obligation, as a global community, to complete the unfinished agenda of eradicating fistula. Together, let us keep our promises to support universal human rights and ensure the health and dignity of women and girls everywhere.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon


Fistula survivor after surgery in Soroti hospital. Photo: UNFPA/Lothar Mikulla
Fistula survivor after surgery in Soroti hospita, Uganda. Photo: UNFPA/Lothar Mikulla

Theme for 2015:
End fistula. Restore Women's Dignity.

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 labour 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.

An estimated 2 million women in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Arab region, and Latin America and the Caribbean are living with this injury, and some 50,000 to 100,000 new cases develop each year. Yet fistula is almost entirely preventable. Its persistence is a sign that health systems are failing to meet women’s essential needs.

 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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