The Coalition for Reproductive Health and Reproductive Health Rights celebrates the international day to end obstetric fistula

Prishtina, 23 May 2016-

The international day to end obstetric fistula, which is marked on May 23, is marked by the Coalition of Organizations for Reproductive Health and Reproductive Health Rights. Obstetric fistula is one of the most serious injuries from which approximately 2 million women suffer and 50,000 – 100,000 others are affected annually.

Obstetric fistula is a hole between the vagina and the bladder caused by prolonged labor which then causes urinary and bowel incontinence. This is a phenomenon particularly in developing countries and the fight against obstetric fistula is supported by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.

In an official statement today, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, says that “ending fistula remains one of our highest priorities, and we will continue to accelerate efforts, both in our own work and within the United Nations system. The global Campaign to End Fistula, launched in 2003 by UNFPA and partners, has made significant progress towards eliminating fistula and supporting its survivors through prevention, treatment, social reintegration and advocacy.”

Obstetric fistula is developed mostly during birth delivery when baby’s head is turned towards the mother’s pelvic and cannot pass through because the woman’s pelvis is too narrow or the baby is too big. Other contributing factors include the mother’s young age of pregnancy, pelvic disproportion, cancer or radiation treatment for cancer, sexual violence, and some sexually transmitted diseases.

The most effective short-term strategies for preventing obstetric fistula will involve enhanced supervision during labor, improved access to emergency obstetric services, improved access to family planning services, increased education for girls and women, community economic development, and enhanced gender equity.

In Kosovo there are no data or findings about the condition, so the Coalition appeals to the appropriate authorities to build the mechanisms that record this condition in the official registers and improve services to prevent and treat obstetric fistula.