Preventing Injuries During Childbirth: Programmatic and Policy Recommendations for Addressing Obstetric Fistula and Uterine Prolapse
Obstetric fistula is an injury caused by prolonged labor that creates a hole, or fistula, between a mother’s vagina and the bladder and/or rectum. The result can cause serious pain, stigma, and suffering as well as negative social and economic consequences. According to UNFPA, over two million women worldwide live with the condition and in most cases fistula is preventable and treatable.

This event highlighted the prevalence of maternal morbidities in developing countries and shared lessons learned in prevention and treatment of fistulas. Panelists identified key programmatic and policy interventions and made recommendations for moving the campaign to end fistula forward.

Also featured were two mahilako swastha (“women’s health”) quilts from Nepal. These spectacular quilts are comprised of hand-painted panels that tell the story of uterine prolapse, a condition that affects an estimated 600,000 women in Nepal and is closely associated with poor birthing practices and abuse. The panels were painted by survivors of prolapse in Nepal and assembled into quilts by American quilters from the Faithful Circle Quilting Guild in Columbia, Maryland. The project is managed by the Women’s Reproductive Rights Program in Nepal and the Advocacy Project in Washington, D.C.

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