UNFPA targets fistula. Youth Information, July 2006 -I.
UN campaign aims to help women with devastating childbirth
ICYO – YOUTH INFORMATION July 2006 - I
This issue focuses on Population and Family Planning.
(e newsletter from network of indian youth organizations)
UNFPA targets fistula
Stepping up the fight against obstetric fistula, the United Nations Population Fund has launched a fund-raising campaign to treat and prevent this little-discussed but frequent childbirth injury that is wreaking havoc for scores of women in developing countries. "We're hoping to be able to get commitment from people and governments to be able to invest in this," UNFPA's Dr. Arletty Pinel said. "And in the case of Africa specifically, governments must get to know more about obstetric fistula and maternal health, so even they can allot from their own budgets, money for this."
The UNFPA says on top of coping with a stillborn baby, many women hide themselves away because they are so embarrassed by their condition.
Now the fund is launching a campaign to bring the problem into the open. It is estimated there are 20,000 to 50,000 new cases of obstetric fistula each year, on top of the millions of women, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, who already live with the condition.
This creates a hole, leaving the woman incontinent, often disabled, in great pain, and unable to conceive again.
Along with African countries, obstetric fistula is common in women in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.
Now, the United Nations Population Fund is hoping to raise awareness with a new campaign, saying the condition can be both prevented and treated easily, but more resources must be put into maternal health care.
Dr Arletty Pinel of the UN Population Fund said "We're hoping that the campaign will put maternal health into the picture; obstetric fistula becomes a known entity to show how things can go terribly wrong when trying to give birth. We're hoping to be able to get commitment from people and governments to be able to invest in this. And in the case of Africa specifically, governments must get to know more about obstetric fistula and maternal health, so even they can allot from their own budgets, money for this."
Those behind the campaign are aiming to raise US$75 million over five years to help those women whose lives have been blighted by fistula and to save the lives of their children. (CNA /ct/UNWIRE)
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