Consider the plight of women and girls affected by Obstetric Fistula – UN
23 May 2021
Pursuant to the UN General Assembly resolution that declared May 23rd the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon, has called on all Nigerians and stakeholders around the world to consider the plight of women and girls affected by obstetric fistula.
He said this in a statement issued on 23 May 2021, to commemorate the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula.
“Today is the day to reaffirm our commitment to ending this dreadful condition and to redouble our efforts.” Mr Kallon said, “We need to strengthen health systems and maternal medical care, promote women’s rights, empower women and girls with autonomy in their decision-making, increase availability and affordability of fistula treatment, and increase fund allocation, particularly for obstetric fistula prevention, treatment and reintegration services.”
The Resident Coordinator disclosed that in Nigeria, an estimated 150,000 women and girls were afflicted by this debilitating condition, while 13,000 new cases were added annually. The COVID-19 pandemic, he alerted, is expected to cause an increase in instances of fistula due to the pressure on the health system, decreased access to family planning, and a rise in child marriages.
However, the good news, according to Mr. Kallon, is that obstetric fistula is both preventable and treatable in nearly all cases. Patients with uncomplicated fistula can undergo a simple surgery that costs $600 per patient. The UNFPA has ably led the global campaign to End Fistula, helping to conduct 121,000 surgeries in 55 countries since 2003, transforming the lives of so many women and girls.
The Resident Coordinator, therefore, urged everyone to provide hope, healing and dignity for all women and girls with Obstetric Fistula condition.
The theme for this year’s observance is “Women's rights are human rights! End fistula now!” Fistula is not just a health issue - it is a women’s rights issue.