The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) launched a two-year campaign to tackle obstetric fistula in 12 sub-Saharan African countries. According to the UNFPA, “obstetric fistula is the most devastating of all pregnancy-related disabilities and affects about 50,000-100,000 African women each year.”
The campaign will focus on prevention and treatment by raising awareness in various communities on the causes and effects of obstetric fistulas and providing medical centers with the necessary supplies and training. According to the UNFPA Executive Director, Thoraya Obaid, “UNFPA hopes that this campaign will help to eventually make fistulas as rare in Africa as they are in other parts of the world.” The cost of the surgery is estimated to be US $350 with a success rate of 90 percent.
Obstetric fistula mainly affects girls ages 15-19. Approximately two million girls around the world are currently living with the condition. The UNFPA describes obstetric fistula as an injury to the pelvic organs that most often occurs when a young girl undergoes long and obstructed labor, sometimes for as long as 5 days. Often, the girl is poor and 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. IRIN news reports that these women are often abandoned by their husbands and are forced to live alone because of the stigma attached to the problem.
In Ethiopia, 8,000 women suffer from obstetric fistula annually. The Addis Abada Fistula Hospital, in Ethiopia, will be used as a model for other countries to treat and prevent obstetric fistula. Dr. Catherine Hamlin and her husband founded the hospital in the 1970s. Approximately, 20,000 women have been treated at the Addis Abada Fistula Hospital.
In a move that could cost the lives of tens of thousands of women and children around the globe, President Bush officially withheld $34 million in funds for the UNFPA. Bush’s decision was made based on unsubstantiated claims by the extremist right-wing group Population Research International (PRI) that the UNFPA supports forced abortions in China. UNFPA works on a range of family planning, maternal, and prenatal care issues. Despite the fact that Bush’s own handpicked investigative team found no evidence to back PRI’s claim, Bush still would not release the funds to the UNFPA, which provides crucial family planning and health services to women in many developing countries, including Ethiopia.
1/23/2015 #HeForShe Campaign Launches Pilot Effort Aimed at Institutional Equality - The United Nations' gender equality campaign #HeForShe has launched a new program called IMPACT 10X10X10.
United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, together with UN Women Executive DirectorPhumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, introduced the one-year pilot effort aimed at encouraging corporations, universities, and governments to play an active role in enhancing women's empowerment and equality in Davos, Switzerland today at the World Economic Forum.
"Women need to be equal participants in our homes, societies, in our governments, and in our workplaces," Watson said.
First introduced in September, HeForShe is a solidarity movement that calls on men and boys to confront gender inequalities that face women and girls globally. . . .
1/22/2015 BREAKING: House to Vote on Abortion Coverage Ban - After they were forced to scrap plans for a 20-week abortion ban, House Republican leaders decided late last night to instead ram through a vote today on a different extreme anti-abortion bill.
House Republicans are now pushing HR 7, a bill promoted as a ban on federal funding of abortion that would actually prevent women from using their own money to purchase health insurance that includes abortion care. . . .
1/22/2015 House Cancels Abortion Ban After GOP Congresswomen Drop Support - House Republicans cancelled plans to vote on a 20-week ban on abortion after Republican Congresswomen removed their names publicly as co-sponsors of the bill.
The vote on the unconstitutional 20-week ban had originally been scheduled for today, the anniversary of Roe v. . . .