End silence. End stigma. End Fistula.
23 May 2017
May 23rd marks the International Day to End Obstetric Fistulas -a gynaecological condition that is now almost unheard of in the developed world. An obstetric fistula is a hole between the birth canal and bladder or rectum caused by prolonged, obstructed labour, without access to adequate medical treatment. It leaves women with severe incontinence. Several years ago I visited The Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia which treats many affected women every year. I met girls as young as 14 who had to travel for days, selling their possessions to afford treatment. But not all women can afford or get access to treatment which has a life altering impact. Suffering from the condition often leads to further medical problems, marginalisation and poverty. With the right access to medical treatment, obstetric fistulas are highly preventable. As chair of the European Parliament’s International Development Committee, the issues affecting women and girls in developing countries is close to my heart and I am supporting the UNFPA’s Campaign to End Fistula. With the proper training and access to resources it something that can be achieved through collective action by global and local partners within a generation. For more information please visit http://unfpa.org/endFistula