A new program in Sierra Leon, established by the Gloag Foundation, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and Airtel, enables women to call a toll-free number and speak with nurses to determine whether they are eligible to receive treatment for fistulas. Since the hotline was launched in October, 119 women have undergone treatment, with an 85 percent rate of success.
Ann Gloag of the Gloag Foundation stated, "This approach might be very effective to recruit fistula patients-always a challenge considering the stigma associated with the condition-and, perhaps, a useful approach in other countries as well."
Sia Koroma, first lady of Sierra Leon remarked, "Most of the women living with fistula are uneducated. They live in the countryside with little or no access to health facilities, ante-natal or post-natal care. The situation is particularly difficult for girls, who are not physically mature and are especially vulnerable to complications in childbirth." Obstetric fistula primarily affects girls ages 15-19. Approximately one in eight pregnant in Sierra Leon develop a fistula.
The UNFPA describes obstetric fistula as an injury to the pelvic organs that most often occurs when a young woman undergoes long and obstructed labor, sometimes for as long as 5 days. Often, the woman cannot reach or afford the necessary medical care, which then causes her to suffer extensive tissue damage that eventually leads to the death of the baby. Another problem associated with obstetric fistula is that the injury also causes women to lose control of their bowels and bladder unless treated appropriately.
Media Resources: UNFPA 12/12/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 2/13/04
12/9/2013 Mixed Results for Afghanistan's Anti-Violence Against Women Law - The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released their annual report on violence against women in Afghanistan yesterday, revealing mixed results of the country's Elimination of Violence against Women Law.
"A Way to Go: An Update on Implementation of the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women in Afghanistan [PDF]," found that there was a 28 percent increase in reports of violence against women from 2012 to 2013 , but only 17 percent of those were prosecuted under EVAW - a small 2 percent increase from last year.
The law, which was issued by the executive decree of President Hamid Karzai in 2009, criminalizes 22 acts of violence against women and specifies punishment for perpetrators. . . .