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COVID-19 overshadows the Int’l Day to End Obstetric Fistula

KARACHI: UN observes the 23rd of May as the International Day to end Obstetric Fistula, a treatable disease. fistulaObstetric Fistula, an abnormal opening between a woman’s genital tract and her urinary tract or rectum, is preventable. It affects more than 2 million young women worldwide but it can largely be avoided by: –
* delaying the age of first pregnancy;
* the cessation of harmful traditional practices;
* timely access to obstetric care.


UN informs:

1) Hundreds of thousands of women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Arab region, and Latin America and the Caribbean are living with this injury;

2) Women who experience this preventable condition suffer constant urinary incontinence, which often leads to social isolation, skin infections, kidney disorders and even death if left untreated;

3) A surgery can repair the injury with success rates as high as 90% for less complex cases;

4) The average cost of this treatment, which includes surgery, post-operative, care and rehabilitation support, is $600 per patient.


Concentration this year on COVID-19 is overshadowing the importance of the most serious and tragic injuries, that can occur during childbirth. Whereas, the world must promote action towards treating and preventing obstetric fistula, affecting an enormous number of girls and women in developing countries.

UN predicts that due to COVID-19, 13 million more child marriages could take place by 2030 as due to deteriorating economic condition caused by Pandemic parents would prefer to marry the girls off instead of taking care of them.

COVID-19, according to UN, will cause significant delays in program to end female genital mutilation (FGM) – something that could lead to a spike in FGM cases, according to UNFPA, which is a contributing factor for obstetric fistula.

UN reckons it important to call on the global community to use the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula to significantly raise awareness and intensify actions towards ending obstetric fistula, as well as urging post-surgery follow-up and tracking of fistula patients.

Theme of 2020 is End gender inequality! End health inequities! End Fistula now: This year’s Observance speaks up a clear message: “End gender inequality! End health inequities! End Fistula now!” | YouTube Channel

M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.