Happy International Women’s Day to you, our wonderful friends, partners and champions! Today is a day to celebrate women the world over. As supporters of the Worldwide Fistula Fund, we know that you live every day with this mission in your hearts. While we often tell you stories of helping women with obstetric fistula, we would be remiss to exclude the important work we’re doing to ensure that women and girls stop developing this devastating condition in the future.
With one of the highest birth rates in the world and incredibly limited access to maternal health care, Nigerienne women have a severely heightened risk of developing obstetric fistula or other birthing complications. They give birth young, they give birth alone and they give birth without medical assistance. It can be a frightening and confusing experience, especially for those who have seen their friends and neighbors become severely injured, lose their babies or even lose their own lives in childbirth.
In partnership with Health and Development International (HDI), the Worldwide Fistula Fund is implementing a far-reaching prevention and education outreach program in an expansive area around the Danja Fistula Center. The program, which will reach up to 100,000 women in year one, aims to achieve the following:
- Determine a woman and man in each village to serve as program representatives/advocates
- Educate all villagers about obstetric fistula risk factors and prevention techniques
- Create action steps with each village on what to do in the event of an obstructed labor (e.g., use a vehicle or donkey cart to transport the woman, use a cell phone to alert the medical center, etc.)
- Forge partnerships with local hospitals to provide health care and services for women in labor
- Track and collect data on at-risk women to ensure that they receive the care and support they need to have a safe birth
The prevention program is one aspect of our multi-tiered approach to treating fistula. By coupling the provision of surgical care and reintegration services to women who have already developed the condition with a comprehensive and proven method of preventing new cases from occurring, we are confident that we can make a significant impact on the number of women affected by this condition both today . . . and tomorrow.
If you would like to support our prevention programming, and help the girls and women of Niger gain access to much-needed education and medical care, please make a one-time or recurring gift to the Worldwide Fistula Fund.