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Addressing obstetric fistula in Sierra Leone

Obstetric fistula is one of the most serious and tragic childbirth injuries. A hole between the birth canal and bladder and/or rectum, it is caused by prolonged, obstructed labour without access to timely, high-quality medical treatment. It leaves women leaking urine, faeces or both, and often leads to chronic medical problems, depression, social isolation and deepening poverty.

While accurate data on the prevalence of obstetric fistula in Sierra Leone has been challenging, anecdotal evidence and initial modelling projections, estimate that about 2,496 women are living with obstetric fistula in the country. Over the last few years, the UNFPA country office has worked in partnership with two non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Aberdeen Women’s Centre and Haikal, to seek out, treat, train, reintegrate and advocate for young girls and women suffering from obstetric fistula.

UNFPA is the main agency funding fistula interventions in the country. In partnership with Aberdeen Women’s Centre, Haikal and the MoHS, UNFPA restores dignity and hope through a multi-faceted set of services for fistula clients and survivors to ensure holistic restoration.