International Day to End Obstetric Fistula
International Day to End Obstetric Fistula is May 23
According to the United Nations, an estimated 2 to 3 million women and girls in developing countries are living with obstetric fistula – a statistic Mercy Ships is trying to change.
Obstetric fistula is one of the most serious and tragic injuries that can occur during childbirth. It is a hole between the birth canal and the bladder or rectum caused by prolonged, obstructed labour without treatment.
The condition typically leaves women incontinent, and as a result they are often shunned by their communities. Sufferers often endure depression, social isolation and deepening poverty. Many women live with the condition for years – or even decades – because they cannot afford to obtain treatment.
The United Nations has identified preventing and treating obstetric fistula as key to achieving their Sustainable Development Goal 3, which is ensuring healthy lives, in this case improving maternal health.
The Mercy Ships Women’s Health Program gives free fistula repair operations for affected women. The healed patients are given new dresses and headdresses as symbols of their restored life. The program also works to build the capacity of healthcare systems in developing nations to address the condition of fistula by proving training for local surgeons, nurses and traditional birth attendants.
In June 2022, more than 30 Senegalese healthcare professionals boarded the Global Mercy® to equip themselves with new skills that could save countless vulnerable young lives.
Now living in France, Léa works for Mercy Ships Canada remotely and “seized the opportunity” when the hospital ship Global Mercy came to Europe.
The Africa Celebration is a moment to pause and give thanks for 30 years of partnership, filled with stories of hope and healing.
The Africa Mercy® hospital ship returned to West Africa, bringing hope and healing as the vessel docked once again in the port of Dakar, Senegal.
Two years ago, when the Africa Mercy sailed from Senegal, hundreds of patients were left still waiting for their chance for surgery.
On February 1st, the ship returned to the port of Dakar to bring hope and healing to these patients and their families.
Canadian Annick Sylvestre, Country Engagement Team, Operations Liaison in Liberia, shares an update of recent activities in the country.