UN General Assembly enshrines call for intensified efforts to end fistula

18 December, 2014
UN General Assembly enshrines call for intensified efforts to end fistula
Survivors after fistula repair acquiring a livelihood as part of their reintegration into their communities. National Center for Fistula Treatment, N'Djamena, Chad. Photo: UNFPA/Ollivier Girard

United Nations, New York – The United Nations General Assembly adopted a UNFPA-backed resolution on obstetric fistula on 18 December 2014, which calls for stepped-up actions to end the condition.

“The resolution is important for millions of women suffering the pain and shame of fistula,” said Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. “With the backing of the international community, UNFPA and its partners in the Campaign to End Fistula can continue to step up our efforts to prevent fistula and treat and re-integrate fistula survivors.”

 

The UNFPA-led Campaign to End Fistula currently supports about half of all fistulas surgical repairs in developing and emerging countries, where the condition is more prevalent. The number of fistula repairs supported by UNFPA doubled from 5,000 in 2010 to more than 10,000 in 2013. Since 2003, the Campaign has supported more than 47,000 fistula repairs.

The new resolution calls on the international community to intensify technical and financial support to accelerate progress in the remaining days until the deadline to achieve Millennium Development Goal 5 (to improve maternal health) by the end of 2015 and eliminate fistula.

Co-sponsored by more than 150 Member States and adopted by consensus, the resolution also acknowledges obstetric fistula as a notifiable condition, and, as a result, fistula survivors should be registered and tracked in order to receive necessary medical treatment and follow-up medical care for future pregnancies.

Fistula is a childbirth injury caused by prolonged, obstructed labour. It is estimated that at least two million women live with the condition. There are 50,000 to 100,000 new cases per year. Working with more than 90 partners in more than 50 countries, the Campaign to End Fistula strives to make obstetric fistula as rare in developing and emerging countries as it is in industrialized nations.

The General Assembly enshrined the text adopted by its Committee on Committee on Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Issues in November. Read more about the resolution.