UNFPA Representative Suzanne Maiga, Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister of Health and AIDS, Prof. Thérèse N’Dri-Yoman, and the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, Mr. Surh Sung-Yol, signed the agreement in February.
The project will run from May to April 2014 and is timely for the fistula survivors who have been waiting several months for treatment. It fits into the sixth UNFPA/Côte d’Ivoire Country Programme (2009-2013), which prioritizes the issue of obstetric fistula.
Obstetric fistula is caused by obstructed labour, when the mother’s pelvis is too small for the baby to be delivered without help and she is unable to have a Caesarian section or access emergency obstetric care. The pressure caused by the obstructed labour damages the tissue of the internal passages of the bladder and/or rectum, causing a hole, leaving the woman permanently incontinent.
In Côte d’Ivoire, 46 per cent of childbirths are not attended by skilled medical personnel, a factor contributing to the country’s high morbidity and maternal death rates, including fistula.
Despite political will and efforts by development partners, the unmet need in the area of fistula is very high across the country. Fistula survivors are found in both urban and rural settings and they face many obstacles to access health care. In view of the magnitude of the problem, exclusion and loss of dignity, UNFPA Côte d’Ivoire has regularly used its own resources and mobilized additional funding, including from Thematic Funds, to continue the fight against fistula.
UNFPA submitted to the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Côte d’Ivoire a request for U$1,700,000 to fund a national project for the prevention and management of obstetric fistula in the central, northern and western regions of the country.
As co-donors, UNFPA, the executing agency, will supply U$500,000 and the Ivorian Government U$300,000.
The project strategies are threefold: to strengthen the operational capacities of the nine regional centres of fistula care management, to strengthen community mobilization for the prevention and social reintegration of fistula survivors, and follow-up and evaluation of the interventions.
The agreement shows the strength of the partnership between UNFPA, the Ministry for Health and AIDS, and the Republic of Korea in seeking to improve the wellbeing of the people of Côte d’Ivoire and promote the dignity of women, youth and children.
Mariama Haidara reported from Côte d’Ivoire.
Read the original story on the UNFPA Africa Regional Portal.