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Campaign to End Fistula Quadruples In Size, Reaching Over 45 Countries, Says New Report
Date:10/13/2008

NEW YORK, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the first-ever report by the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, on fistula is scheduled to be presented to Member States today, the Campaign to End Fistula announced a fourfold increase in the number of countries it serves. According to its annual report, the campaign now works to prevent and treat fistula in over 45 countries in Africa, Asia and the Arab States. When it was launched in 2003, it covered 12 countries.

The Secretary-General's report on "supporting efforts to end obstetric fistula", issued in response to a request by the General Assembly, outlines efforts to end obstetric fistula and help achieve Millennium Development Goal 5, including strengthening health systems and increasing funding.

At least 2 million women in Africa, Asia and the Arab region are living with obstetric fistula, a hole in the birth canal caused by prolonged labour without prompt medical intervention. Every year some 50,000 to 100,000 new cases develop, with severe social and medical consequences for the women affected.

"The consequences of fistula are life shattering," said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. "The baby often dies and the woman is left with chronic incontinence, greatly diminishing her prospects for work and family life."

While obstetric fistula is uncommon in countries where births are attended by skilled medical workers and emergency obstetric care is available, and where women can exercise their right to determine the number and spacing of their children, it occurs disproportionately among poor girls and women, especially those living far from medical services and with lack of access to family planning.

Launched by UNFPA and partners, the global Campaign to End Fistula aims at eliminating fistula by 2015 by preventing it and restoring the health and dignity of women living with its consequences. The campaign's ann
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SOURCE United Nations Population Fund
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