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The International Day to End Obstetric Fistula was celebrated today under the global theme “Hope, healing and dignity for all.” The half-day event was held at the premises of the Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia which has been treating and rehabilitating fistula survivors for the past more than forty years.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Eshetu Kebede, Advisor to the State Minister of the Federal Ministry of Health, talked about the Action Plan to Eliminate Obstetric Fistula by 2020 which the Ministry is implementing with key stakeholders. He called on all stakeholders to strengthen their support to realize this effort which is being implemented through the two-pronged approach of increasing access to treatment and prevention.

Dr. Collins Opiyo, speaking on behalf of the UNFPA Country Representative a.i, said that ending obstetric fistula is a high priority for UNFPA and is a key step on the road to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. “Fistula can be eliminated if there are strong health systems and greater efforts to address the underlying issues that perpetuate it, including poverty, gender inequality, early marriage and childbearing, and lack of education,” he added.

A presentation was made during the event showing the progress made and the challenges faced in rolling out the Action Plan to Eliminate Obstetric Fistula in Ethiopia by 2020.

A fistula survivor who was treated by Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia shared her story with the audience.

Representatives of different stakeholders and fistula patients and staff of the Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia were present at the event.