“Every day nearly 800 women die from complications of pregnancy. For every woman who dies, 20 or more are injured or disabled.One of the most serious injuries of childbearing is obstetric fistula, a hole in the vagina or rectum caused by labour that is prolonged – often for days – without treatment. Usually the baby dies. Because the fistula leaves women leaking urine or feces, or both, it typically results in social isolation, depression and deepening poverty. Left untreated, fistula can lead to chronic medical problems.Like maternal mortality, fistula is almost entirely preventable. Yet at least 2 million women in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and the Arab region are living with fistula, and some 50,000 to 100,000 new cases develop each year. The persistence of fistula is a signal that health systems are failing to meet the needs of women.”
Obstetric Fistula was once quite common in the United States and Europe, but it is almost non-existent now because of improved obstetric care. However, it is still common in developing countries, especially among the impoverished girls and women because adequate medical service is NOT available to them. Women of Vision and World Vision have partnered with the UNFPA Campaign to End Fistula to raise awareness and lend our voices to advocate on behalf of these women. The Campaign to End Fistula focuses on three key areas: Prevention – ThisIS a preventable medical injury; Treatment – Surgery CAN normally repair the injury; Rehabilitation – Many women (some have lived with fistula for many years before getting treatment) WILL NEED emotional, economic, and social support to fully recover.
For more information, go to http://www.endfistula.org/
One way we can advocate for these women is to remind the Congress and President Obama not to cut out life saving programs provided through USAID, the United States Agency for International Development as they discuss "fiscal cliff". USAID, which account for less than half of 1% of the total U.S. budget, provides numerous preventable and life saving campaigns, such as clean water projects and immunization programs for children. Additionally, USAID provides funds to the UNFPA's campaign to end obstetric fistula.
Please consider taking about 10 minutes of your time to call your Senators to support International Affairs Budget (which includes USAID). You can find more information and the script here:http://strongwomenstrongworld.