Today the USAID-funded Fistula Care Plus (FC+) joins partner organizations, healthcare workers, and communities around the globe in commemorating the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula (IDEOF). IDEOF creates an opportunity to further dialogue and intensify action within the international community to end fistula. In the lead-up to 23 May each year, FC+ country programs coordinate a series of national and local media spots, host stakeholder meetings, and scale up fistula prevention and treatment efforts.
This year, we are proud that FC+ Director Dr. Lauri Romanzi will participate on the panel entitled “Ending Obstetric Fistula: Policies and Interventions to Improve Maternal Health and Increase Access to Safe Childbirth” hosted by Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. Dr. Romanzi will highlight the critical need to strengthen both prevention and treatment efforts in order to truly end fistula for all women everywhere. With the global theme of “Leave No One Behind,” Dr. Romanzi reiterates that fistula has been eradicated in high-income countries, including the U.S. where the Waldorf Astoria Hotel stands on the site of a former fistula hospital. We can achieve the same worldwide using approach that addresses the surgical needs of women living with fistula while preventing new occurrences through access to family planning and safe and timely cesarean sections. This echoes UNFPA Executive Director Natalia Kanem’s IDEOF statement, “Fistula, which has been virtually eliminated in wealthier countries, is a serious human rights violation, a reflection of health systems’ failures, and a tragic sign of global social injustice and inequity.”