In my role at the United Nations Population Fund, I have the privilege to travel to urban, rural and remote locations to see the range of efforts being made so that every woman might give birth safely and in dignity, supported by midwives or other skilled attendants. But in many countries, a safe labor and delivery for mother and child is still a lottery -- a roll of the dice. When services are not available, when skilled birth attendants are not in reach, when information is not provided or distance or poverty or discrimination or isolation means a pregnant woman is without access to support, the consequences can be grave, indeed. Read more...
May 23rd, 2013
April 9th, 2012
By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver
For the estimated 3,700 Tanzanian women who experience obstetric fistula each year, a daunting landscape of stigma and shame looms before them. Many are exiled from their families and communities, and are unable to work. Only about 1,000 of them will receive treatment. The rest are either unaware that treatment exists or can’t afford to access it.
This issue led Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT), the country’s largest provider of fistula repair surgery, to take action. CCBRT already provides services free of charge, yet the barrier of transportation costs remained. In response, in 2009 they began using Vodaphone’s mobile banking system M-PESA—M for “mobile” and PESA for “money” in Swahili—to reduce the burden of transportation expenses. Read more...
March 1st, 2012
SANTA BARBARA, CA/ SAN JOSE, CA/ UNITED NATIONS, New York—The largest and most comprehensive map of available services for women living with obstetric fistula was launched today by Direct Relief International, the Fistula Foundation, and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. The release of the Global Fistula Map, a major step forward in understanding the landscape of worldwide treatment capacity for obstetric fistula, will help streamline the allocation of resources and raise awareness of the condition.
Obstetric fistula, one of the most devastating childbirth injuries, is caused by the lack of a skilled birth attendant and access to emergency care during delivery. It is a highly stigmatizing, though in most cases treatable condition that results from prolonged, obstructed labor and causes chronic incontinence. According to currently accepted estimates, there are some 50,000-100,000 new cases every year. Read more...
January 19th, 2012
UNITED NATIONS, New York, 13 January 2012—Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is a winner of the Population Institute’s 2011 Annual Global Media Awards for Excellence in Population Reporting. The awards, which are in their 32nd year, honour those who help raise public awareness of the challenges related to population and reproductive health. The Population Institute is a major United States-based non-governmental organization founded in 1969 to promote universal access to family planning information, education and services. Read more...
November 28th, 2011
October 27th, 2011
By: Natalie Imbruglia, singer, actress and spokesperson for Virgin Unite and the Campaign to End Fistula; originally posted on DFID's blog here
This month, the seven billionth human being will be born. It may be a baby boy or a baby girl, it will probably be born in the developing world, and chances are good that this baby's mother will suffer complications or even a severe birth injury like obstetric fistula. Up to 45,000 women do, every day. Read more...
April 7th, 2011
By: Conrad Person, Director, Corporate Contributions, Johnson & Johnson
Today, the world marks World Health Day with ambitious goals for advancing the wellbeing of all people – with a special focus on women and children, whose fates are inextricably linked to overcoming poverty through the Millennium Development Goals. It is a time to celebrate how much progress we have made on issues like clean water and safe birth, but also a chance to reflect on the staggering gaps in health resources for women that still exist between developed and developing countries, and how we can address them. Read more...
February 14th, 2011
By: Sharon D’Agostino, Vice President, Worldwide Corporate Contributions and Community Relations, Johnson & Johnson
My heart is different this Valentine’s Day, a day when many celebrate love. It has been touched by individuals transforming the world by caring for girls and women who, for many reasons, feel neglected and unloved. Writing Valentine notes over the past several days to people I love, my mind followed a path back to the work that my team and I are privileged to do at Johnson & Johnson, work with community-based partners dedicated to saving and improving the lives of women and children. Read more...
December 27th, 2010
By: Madeline Taskier, Partnership Coordinator at Women Deliver
Obstetric fistula, like maternal mortality, is an almost entirely preventable condition experienced by at least 2 million women in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East every year. When a woman has prolonged or obstructed labor delaying delivery of her baby, a hole can form in the tissue between her bladder, vagina, and rectum causing uncontrollable leakage of feces or urine and often resulting in a stillborn birth. Performing surgery to repair the fistula is successful 90 percent of the time, but many women in these regions often do not have access to trained surgeons and have little knowledge of the existing treatments. Read more...
December 3rd, 2010
This week the US Senate unanimously passed the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act, the first piece of legislation endorsed by the US government to address child marriage. Sponsored by Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), and Representative Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), the law seeks to strengthen the US government’s role in preventing child marriage, expanding investments to empower young girls, and include child marriage in the State Department annual Human Rights Report. Read more...
November 23rd, 2010
The Guardian International Development Journalism competition, supported by Marie Stopes International, announced the winners of the 2010 competition last week. The goal of this journalism competition is to generate articles that will help to raise awareness with the general public on the need for continued investment in international development and support for the Millennium Development Goals. Read more...
October 19th, 2010
Last Monday, October 11th, the United Nations released a report entitled "Supporting Efforts to End Obstetric Fistula" which estimates that $750 million will be needed to treat existing and new cases of obstetric fistula occurring between now and 2015.
Despite being almost entirely preventable when universal and equitable access to quality maternal and reproductive health services exists, the Lancet has reported that at least 2 million and as many as 3.5 million women suffer from obstetric fistula. According to the World Health Organization, adolescent girls are especially vulnerable, and their risk for maternal mortality is two to five times greater than that faced by women in their twenties. Read more...
June 25th, 2010
By: Agnes Odhiambo, originally posted on The Huffington Post
Nairobi -- Nineteen-year-old Christine Nyaboke became pregnant in 2005. She was in labor for three days at home with a traditional birth attendant because her mother had no money to take her to hospital. She had a stillbirth, and later discovered that her body was painfully damaged. Nyaboke, not her real name, had a fistula, a severe childbirth injury that leaves its victims constantly leaking urine and feces. As a result, she was shunned and abused by former friends and others in her community. She could not leave home for social events, to look for work or even to go to church. She became depressed and contemplated suicide.
She was just one of the more than 50 women and girls I interviewed late last year who suffered obstetric fistula. Unless it is surgically repaired, it ruins their lives. With the G-8 planning to discuss maternal health at its summit meeting this week in Canada, I can't help but think of how these girls' and women's lives would not have been torn apart if they had access to appropriate health care, including family planning services, at the time of their pregnancy and childbirth.
May 14th, 2009
Maternal morbidity is an issue that sometimes gets left off the table when it comes to discussing and advocating for maternal health.
February 24th, 2009
December 18th, 2008
October 15th, 2008