On 23 May 2015, Fistula Care Plus will join UNFPA along with other UN Agencies and global partners in commemorating the annual International Day to End Obstetric Fistula. This year’s theme, “End fistula, restore women’s dignity,” highlights the inequalities related to fistula and the unfortunate ability of this persisting morbidity to rob women of their woman dignity and quality of life. The 2015 theme aligns with the goals and activities of Fistula Care Plus and its partners, who will be marking the day in different capacities around the world.
UNFPA stated that 2015 represents a critical turning point and a transformational moment to place the elimination of preventable maternal and newborn deaths and injuries, including fistula, at the forefront of global and national priorities. By commemorating 23 May, FC+ joins the international community in working to raise awareness and intensifying activities toward ending obstetric fistula. To join the conversation on social media, use #EndFistula and #WomenInspire.
Noteworthy events surrounding the day include:
Geneva, 22 May: the Permanent Missions of Ethiopia, Iceland and Liberia to the United Nations in Geneva, along with UNFPA, will host a side event of the sixty-eighth World Health Assembly.
Washington DC: Fistula Care Plus and UNFPA are working to organize a congressional panel on maternal morbidities to be held during the July session in Washington DC.
London, 21 May: The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson are hosting the art exhibit “Drawing Out Obstetric Fistula: Exploring the ramifications of maternal birth trauma through art” with drawings by Jac Saorsa.
Bangladesh: The FC+ team will be hosting a radio talk show to discuss maternal health and themes around fistula prevention and awareness.
DRC: Events commemorating International Day to End Obstetric Fistula will be held at many partner health facilities, including Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, South Kivu, and St. Joseph Hospital in the capital city of Kinshasa. The guests invited include health care workers, community advocates, government officials, media outlets, and women who have received care along with their families.
Niger: A special committee of the Ministry of Health has organized a day of meetings with stakeholders working to end fistula in the country.
Nigeria: A reintegration ceremony for women who have recently undergone fistula repair surgery will be held in the northern city of Kano, organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and local religious leaders.
Uganda: FC+, along with partners Terrewode and UNFPA, will sponsor a fistula treatment camp at Hoima Regional Referral Hospital to commemorate the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula. Awareness-raising activities will be held in conjunction to the treatment camp, including holding a parade through Hoima town to showcase community involvement and the invitation of a Village Health Team drama group to educate the community through a drama performance themed on promoting maternal health and preventing obstetric fistula.