A National Event to Raise Awareness on Fistula

Fistula Day
International recording artist Sekouba Kandia Kouyate performs at Fistula day in Guinea.

For Guinea’s National Fistula Day on May 25, 2011, high-ranking government officials, representatives from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and community leaders came together to raise awareness about fistula and reaffirm their commitment to preventing and treating the condition. The Ministry of Social Affairs and the Promotion of Women & Children, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Territorial Administration & Decentralization, the Fistula Care project and the American Friends of Guinea (AFG), a U.S.-based NGO, all partnered to organize the event, which more than 200 people attended.

National Fistula Day featured remarks from government officials and representatives from the U.S. Agency for International Development. Karen Beattie, Fistula Care Project Director, made a presentation about the work of the project, and fistula survivors shared their testimonies.

At Jean Paul II Hospital, Ms. Beattie joined the Prime Minister’s spouse (on behalf of the First Lady of Guinea) to cut a ribbon to open a waiting house for fistula clients. AFG recently generously renovated this building, adding new rooms and bathrooms for women awaiting fistula repair surgery. The center was named “Bebe Sylla” in honor of AFG’s Health Projects Coordinator.

International recording artist Sekouba Kandia Kouyate also attended the event. The singer has dedicated a song to the issue of fistula and plans to organize special shows to raise money to care for women living with fistula.