International Day to End Obstetric Fistula 2024

Partners and team members from each of our Fistula Foundation Treatment Networks raise awareness about fistula in their communities.

International Day to End Obstetric Fistula (IDEOF), held every year on May 23, is an opportunity to raise awareness about the condition of obstetric fistula. The United Nations inaugurated the event in 2013 to channel more support to women who are—all too often—abandoned by society, and left to suffer in silence. Year after year, IDEOF activities help move us toward the ideal of a world where the suffering caused by fistula has become a relic of the past.

This year on IDEOF, partners and team members from each of our Fistula Foundation Treatment Networks (FFTNs) spent the day creating a buzz about fistula in their respective communities. From rallies to training sessions for community health workers (CHWs) to hospital site visits, activities held by our outreach and hospital partners helped spread the word about this devastating condition. 

Here are a few ways that our partners celebrated IDEOF this year. 

In Kenya:

  • CHWs shared their experience finding women in need of care and bringing them to the hospital. 
  • The First Lady of Makueni County, Her Excellency Anita Mutula, delivered a speech.  
  • Our outreach partner Maisha Empowerment Initiative distributed fistula education materials to engage the community. 
  • Parades were held across the country. 

In Zambia: 

  • The mayor of Kitwe City, her worship Mpasa Mwaya, gave a speech. 
  • Survivors told their stories of developing fistula and receiving treatment. 
  • The United Church of Zambia Chimwemwe Brass Band led a march.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): 

  • CHWs were trained to recognize the signs of fistula. 
  • Fistula patients received dignity kits (bags that contain clothing, a toothbrush, and other essentials). 
  • Representatives of the DRC Ministry of Public Health, the National Director of Reproductive Health, and the mayor of Kasavubu Commune attended an event in Kinshasa hosted by FFTN partners.

In Tanzania: 

  • Fistula treatment stakeholders attended  IDEOF celebrations hosted at Maternity Africa, with Dr. Dorothy Gwajima—the Minister for Community Development, Gender, Women and Special Groups—attending as the guest of honor.
  • Fistula survivors offered testimonies about their successful treatment at Maternity Africa.
  • Clement Ndahani,  program manager for FFTN in Tanzania, presented a statement about the Foundation’s work in that country.

IDEOF showcases the mobilization capabilities of our partners and demonstrates the importance of community building in advancing the work of prevention, outreach, treatment, and reintegration. We have come so far, but there is still so far to go. 

Watch the short video below to view IDEOF events across our FFTN countries.


Published on June 11, 2024

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