News

UNFPA and Partners Launched the 100 in 100 Initiative on Obstetric Fistula

7 June 2018

On Wednesday, 23rd of May 2018, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and partners launched the 100 in 100 initiative at Alisa Hotel as part of the commemoration of the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula. The initiative aims to raise funds to repair 100 Obstetric Fistulas in 100 days, by creating awareness of obstetric fistula and mobilize the funds for these repairs. Obstetric fistula is a distressing complication of prolonged, obstructed labour, often resulting in the leakage of urine or faeces or both. If left untreated, fistula can lead to chronic medical problems including ulcerations and kidney diseases. A study carried out by the Ghana Health Service in 2015 estimated that about 1300 new cases occur every year, and UNFPA and various partners such as the Ghana Health Service, are only able to treat fewer than 100 cases a year, which leaves more than 1000 women left without care annually. The average cost of fistula treatment- including surgery and post-operative care- is around $700, which is well beyond the reach of most women with the condition in Ghana.

UNFPA partnered with the National Obstetric Fistula Taskforce and the Ghana Health Service to launch the National Obstetric Fistula Prevention and Management Strategy in 2017. As part of the implementation of the strategy, the 100 in 100 Initiative is being launched to enable the country to prevent the problems associated with obstetric fistula and create awareness to prevent new cases from occurring. To promote the 100 in 100 initiative, the movie Dry directed by Stephanie Linus, UNFPA’s Ambassador for West and Central Africa was shown. Linus has dedicated her lifetime to improving maternal health care and thus, her movie targeted and highlighted the problems associated with obstetric fistula.

UNFPA recognized fourteen Surgeons, who dedicated their time and efforts in ensuring that women affected by Obstetric Fistula had their dignities restored. ‘‘The willingness of these Surgeons to travel hundreds of kilometers by road and by air to work pro bono to put the smiles back on the faces of fistula survivors cannot go unrecognized said UNFPA Representative, Niyi Ojuolape in his remarks at the event. The 100 in 100 Initiative emphasizes prevention as the key to ending fistula, and the need to mobilize resources to repair as many obstetric fistula cases as possible.

 Dr. Samuel Gepi-Attee, a urologist from the KorleBu Teaching Hospital, who launched the initiative on behalf of all the partners, said that the initiative would support UNFPA’s dedication to ending obstetric fistula, by ensuring skilled birth attendance at all births and providing timely and high quality emergency obstetric care for all women who develop complications during delivery, making obstetric fistula as rare in developing countries as it is in the industrialized world. This will ensure the realization of the 2018 International Day to End Obstetric Fistula’s Theme “Leaving no one behind: let us commit to ending fistula now!”