May 23: International Day to End Obstetric Fistula

Photo Credit: © UNFPA South Sudan

Every year on May 23, the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) raises awareness on Obstetric Fistula, a preventable condition that leaves women incontinent and prone to infections after birth, due to a hole in their birth canal.

“Women with fistula are often shunned by their communities,” said NFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin in a statement. “Yet the condition is almost entirely preventable. Its persistence is a sign of global inequality and an indication that health systems are failing to protect the health and human rights of the poorest and most vulnerable women and girls.”

According to the UNFPA, more than 2 million women in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Arab region, Latin America and the Caribbean are estimated to be living with fistula.

The debilitating condition affects mostly those who don’t have access to modern maternal health services and women who become pregnant at an early age.

UNFPA, in partnership with the Campaign to End Fistula, have made progress towards the elimination of the condition through prevention and treatment. UNFPA has done 85,000 fistula repair surgeries since 2003 and more than 15,000 cases in 2016 alone.

Support this cause here. 

About Valeria Ricciulli

Valeria Ricciulli is a New York based Colombian journalist. She currently covers real estate, architecture, and infrastructure at Vox Media's Curbed NY. Previously, she worked as a breaking news reporter for, and as a digital news intern for El Diario New York, covering crime, local politics, health, and culture. She's currently pursuing an M.S. in Media Management at The New School.

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