Stop Fistula

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Stop Fistula


PAÍS/CIUDAD: Liberia / Monrovia

DURACIÓN: 2013 and onwards

Obstetric fistula occurs as a consequence of arrested or blocked birth deliveries without medical assistance. Young women and those giving birth for the first time are the most prone to suffer from it. Sexual assault can also cause this affliction, which carries a heavy social burden, since the vast majority of women who suffer from it are also rejected by their husbands, families and communities.

According to UN data, there are between two and three and a half million women living with obstetric fistula, mostly in Africa, and it is estimated that between 50,000 and 100,000 new cases appear every year. The severity of this disease and the figures that reveal it are at odds with most of society’s great lack of knowledge about it.

“Stop Fistula” aims to prevent and cure as many cases of fistula as possible by means of three actions. Firstly, there is preventive action via awareness-raising activities that enables the most vulnerable women and girls to have medical checkups and birth assistance on giving birth for the first time, especially those at risk of an obstructed or arrested delivery. Secondly, reparatory surgery is also performed on women who already suffer from fistula. In both cases, the medical health care is free of charge. The third line of action involves training local healthcare staff.

Since the project was launched, reparatory surgery has been performed on 165 women, approximately 3,500 birth deliveries have been assisted, and over 13,000 medical consultations have been carried out. Moreover, ongoing training courses have been given to nearly 180 healthcare professionals and about 600 people in different towns.

The project has been carried out in Liberia since May 2013 when the Women for Africa Fistula Unit was opened at St. Joseph's Hospital in Monrovia by the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and the President of Women for Africa, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega.

With the Ebola epidemic situation (2014-2015), Women for Africa’s management focussed on advising and providing the necessary healthcare team to improve maternal and infant healthcare assistance. A collaboration agreement has been signed for this purpose with the Tamale Teaching Hospital.

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