International Women’s Day 2021: Choose To Challenge

Stories | March 4, 2021

Held each year on March 8th, International Women’s Day is one of the most important days of the year to raise awareness about women’s equality, and to advocate for a world with greater gender parity.

The theme of International Women’s Day 2021 was Choose to Challenge, which provided a significant reminder that we all have a role to play in creating a more inclusive society, and that ultimately challenge leads to change.

Creating more positive futures for vulnerable women is the key to CBM’s work in some of the poorest parts of the world to prevent and treat fistula.

Fistula is a condition which can occur when an unborn baby’s head puts too much pressure on its mother’s maternal tissues which results to the blood supply being interrupted. When the tissue dies, the resultant hole – known as the fistula – can lead to the mother uncontrollably leaking bodily fluids.

Sadly, their babies often die, which leave their mothers dealing with grief, trauma and stigmatisation in addition to their own acute health problems, which can include urinary incontinence, skin infections and kidney disorders.

Each year, an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 women around the world are affected by obstetric fistula.

This condition is preventable and treatable, but often occurs in developing countries where many women live in poverty and do not have access to adequate, high-quality health care. These women are also often part of cultures where marriage and an ability to bear children are very closely linked with status and self-esteem.

According to the World Health Organisation, more than two million young women live with untreated obstetric fistula in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

International Women’s Day is a powerful reminder that vulnerable women do not have to live with the shame and trauma associated with fistula.

With accessible and high-quality maternal health care, basic and comprehensive emergency obstetric care and skilled care at birth, fistula can be prevented and treated. Surgical options, with very high success rates, are also available.

CBM continues to raise awareness about the importance of good maternal healthcare, and also trains local healthcare workers to identify high-risk pregnancies and provide referrals to hospitals in remote areas.

In Nigeria, which has the highest rate of fistula cases worldwide, CBM is involved in a three-year program to ultimately ensure more girls and women have access to effective services and inclusive and high-quality healthcare.

On International Women’s Day, can you help us to help women in need?

Together we can improve healthcare for mums. Make a donation today.

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