UNFPA spells out fistula stigma

United Nations Population Fund

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has observed that many women and girls suffering from obstetric fistula are shunned by their families and people in communities .


The UN agency responsible for population activities says the stigma has deepened the poverty status and magnified the suffering of the affected women and girls.


And UNFPA says an estimated two to three million women and girls in developing countries are living with obstetric fistula, a condition that has been virtually eliminated in industrialized countries.


Obstetric fistula is a hole in the birth canal caused by prolonged, obstructed labour due to lack of timely and adequate medical care.


UNFPA Under Secretary General and Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin says obstetric fistula is preventable but unfortunately  there are an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 new cases of obstetric fistula worldwide every year.


Dr. Osotimehin says the victims of obstetric fistula are usually poor illiterates who have limited access to quality health services including maternal and reproductive health care.
Dr. Osotimehin said this in a press statement released to ZANIS in Lusaka yesterday.


He said as part of the global community his organisation which co-ordinates the campaign has  an obligation to end this health and human rights tragedy.


Dr Osotimehin  added that UNFPA working through its partners and strategies of prevention, treatment and social re-integration has helped women and girls around the world to overcome a debilitating condition that has left and continues to leave significant numbers of them suffering in solitude and shame.


He called on the Zambian Government to redouble her efforts by raising awareness and support and increase funding to the Ministry of Health to put to an end obstetric fistula which he described as a a grave global injustice.