In the decade since the 2003 launch of the United Nations’ Campaign to End Fistula, the global community has made important strides toward healing the staggering backlog of women suffering from this injury.
(PRWEB) May 23, 2013
In September of 1994, the world community gathered in Cairo for the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). It was the largest intergovernmental conference on population and development ever held, producing a comprehensive Programme of Action that remains today as both touchstone and framework for the field. Yet in all 194 pages of that landmark document – which covers everything from female empowerment to male responsibilities in family planning – the childbirth injury of obstetric fistula was not mentioned, even once.
Today, it has been nearly two decades since the ICPD, and it is heartening to now celebrate the first International Day to End Obstetric Fistula. We celebrate a world that has finally come together to create a global, multi-sector response to this previously neglected challenge.
In the decade since the 2003 launch of the United Nations’ Campaign to End Fistula, the global community has made important strides toward healing the staggering backlog of women suffering from this injury. Collectively, we are more organized, more focused and more efficient at identifying and treating women today than ever before.
Advances like the Global Fistula Map created by Direct Relief, UNFPA and the Fistula Foundation allowed us to pool resources and channel funding to facilities that have the capacity to provide more fistula treatment services. Corporate partners like Johnson & Johnson are leading the way in supporting fistula treatment and prevention efforts, by strategically partnering with our Foundation to help direct critical funds to advance treatment in under-resourced communities. And inspiring journalists, such as Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, continue to open hearts and minds to the plight of fistula patient and the doctors who treat them, demonstrating how fistula is often the symptom of greater problems such as gender discrimination and poverty.
While there is no simple solution to the global problem of obstetric fistula, the coordinated response of the international community is truly making headway. But our collective efforts to end fistula will not cease until the day when women living in rural Africa and Asia have access to the kind of emergency obstetric care that so many of us take for granted in the developed world.
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About The Fistula Foundation
The Fistula Foundation believes that no woman should suffer a life of isolation and misery simply for trying to bring a child into the world. We are dedicated to raising awareness of and funding for fistula repair, prevention, and educational programs worldwide to help eradicate fistula. We fund local partners at 38 sites in 19 countries – completing more fistula repair surgeries worldwide than any other nonprofit not receiving government funding. Based in San Jose, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley, the foundation is honored to have received seven consecutive 4-Star ratings from Charity Navigator; only 2 percent of charities have received this designation. For more information, visit http://www.fistulafoundation.org.