International Day To End Obstetric Fistula

A common injury that can occur during childbirth is an obstetric fistula. This condition is a hole that develops between the birth canal and the bladder and/or the rectum. It is caused by obstructed labor that occurs without access to quality and timely medical treatment. This condition can lead to tragic medical problems such as incontinence, depression, and social isolation.

That’s why the United Nations created the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula. This day is observed every May 23rd with the goal of ending this condition globally by 2030. Anyone who believes women’s rights are human rights will want to observe this holiday.

The History of the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula

The United Nations Population Fund, along with its partners, created this holiday in 2003. The goal of this day is to prevent obstetric fistula and restore the health of women affected by it. It was also created with the set goal to end all obstetric fistulas by 2030. It was first observed internationally in 2013 and has been observed ever since.

Tragic Facts About Fistulas

Below are some tragic facts about fistulas that people should be aware of and should think about when this holiday comes around every year.

  • Approximately 50% of all obstetric fistula patients are between the ages of 10 and 19.
  • Fistulas often leave women dealing with leaking urine and/or feces.
  • Women with fistulas are often ostracized by their communities.
  • The pain and smell of the fistula often leave a woman unable to work, driving her deeper into poverty.
  • Fistulas can be prevented with early, high-quality medical intervention.

Observing International Day to End Obstetric Fistula

On this day, organizations dedicated to women’s rights mobilize campaigns to spread the message about the problem of obstetric fistulas. People wishing to get involved can donate money to Fistula Foundations that address the issue and spread the word about this holiday using the hashtag #EndFistulaNow on their social media accounts.

When is it?
This year (2024)
May 23 Thursday
Next year (2025)
May 23 Friday
Last year (2023)
May 23 Tuesday
Health & Body, United Nations