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Gondar, Amhara Region of Ethiopia: Welela Sheferaw, 46, is very much looking forward to receiving surgical treatment at the University of Gondar Specialized Hospital for her Utero-vaginal prolapse, a condition she has lived with painfully for quite a long time. 

Married at the age of twelve, Welela started giving birth at a very young age. In addition to raising her four children, the arduous household chores and labor works outside of the house are responsible for exposing her to this medical condition.  

The University of Gondar Specialized Hospital fistula center has dedicated the month of March for the Utero-vaginal prolapse free surgical procedures for more than 100 women in commemoration of March 8. 
‘This month the Gondar university fistula center is dedicating the OR for Utero-vaginal prolapse related problems,” says Dr. Cherinet Baye, Head of the Gynecology and Obstetrics department at the hospital. He adds that they are expecting to do more than 100 surgical procedures for free.

Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a public health problem affecting millions of women worldwide.  According to a finding released by the Ministry of Health, in Ethiopia for every 10,000 women of reproductive age 100 of them show symptoms of POP. The Ministry has disclosed that in collaboration with the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs, it is dedicating the month of March to POP treatment stepping up treatment services in all health institutions in the country. 

As many other women living in the rural area, Welela was hiding her problem caused by Utero-vaginal prolapse for years. She was recently identified by Health Extension Workers – community health workers – in her locality Jane Amora, 250 km from Gondar city and brought to the Fistula Center. 

‘I didn't know Utero-vaginal prolapse can be medically treated. I have suffered every time I had to work in the house or walk outside of the house. In the rural area we thought this is a curse that is why I kept it for myself for years. Today I am hopeful that my problem will be solved and I will freely live my life,’ remarks Welela. 

More than 1,900 women with POP were repaired since July 2015 at Gondar and Jimma University Hospitals with the support of UNFPA.