UNFPA - United Nations Population Fund
Fistula, a preventable birth injury, afflicts most vulnerable women and girls


Women attend a fistula repair camp in Aweil, South Sudan. The conflict has disrupted access to life-saving reproductive health care, including treatment for obstetric fistula. © UNFPA South Sudan

WAU, South Sudan – Childbirth is supposed to be a joyous occasion. But for the most vulnerable women and girls, it can be anything but.

Alexina Myambero Stimela knows this from experience. A nurse and midwife from Zambia, she was deployed to South Sudan as a United Nations Volunteer working with UNFPA. In 2013, while she was working the Rumbek Teaching Hospital, she encountered a young teenager, about 13 or 14 years old, who was suffering from a prolonged, obstructed labour.

Monday, May 22, 2017 9:35:57 PM

After 46 years of suffering, fistula survivor finds relief


Nurse Lydia Kasiya speaks with obstetric fistula survivor Nachilango Bisolomo at Monkey-bay Community Hospital. © UNFPA Malawi/Henry Chimbali

MANGOCHI DISTRICT, Malawi – A phone call changed Nachilango Bisolomo’s life.

For 46 years, she had suffered from an obstetric fistula, a stigmatizing injury caused by childbirth complications. Fistula causes incontinence and can also lead to infections, chronic pain and other problems.

“Everywhere I sat, I left a mark, and people would come to see, and talk so much about my condition. I was helpless and could not do anything about this,” she told UNFPA.

Friday, May 19, 2017 8:53:36 PM

Young people call for education, health care, rights – and politicians are listening


Young people face myriad barriers to realizing their human rights, including poor access to education and health care. And girls are especially vulnerable, facing discrimination, violence and high rates of early pregnancy. © UNFPA

MONROVIA, Liberia – Life is not often easy for Liberia’s young people. It has been 14 years since the end of a brutal civil war, but in many ways communities are still reeling. Poverty is rampant, school enrolment rates are low and adolescent pregnancy rates are some of the highest in the world.

But with politicians gearing up for an election, youth leaders have found an opportunity to demand action.

And officials are listening.

Friday, May 19, 2017 12:04:45 PM

Investments in male condoms save lives, make economic gains for countries


UNITED NATIONS, New York - Increasing investments in procuring and distributing male condoms provides a significant economic returns for countries with scarce resources, a new study finds. The study, written by experts from UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and Avenir Health, shows that, in addition to meeting a human right, additional funding for male condoms is a smart investment.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 12:04:15 PM

This Mother’s Day, remembering the joys – and dangers – of motherhood


Fatima holds her newborn son, Jad, as she speaks to an aid worker. Displaced by the Syrian conflict, Fatima grew increasingly frail during her pregnancy. © WFP/Hussam Al Saleh

UNITED NATIONS, New York/HOMS, Syria – Motherhood should be a time of joy, but for too many women, it comes with something else: peril.

"Becoming a mother and having a family was always a dream of mine. But I never expected it to happen in these circumstances," Fatima told aid workers in Homs, the conflict-affected governorate in Syria.

She and her husband, Essam, fled brutal violence in Palmyra last autumn, when she was less than three months pregnant.

Friday, May 12, 2017 9:57:07 AM

New survey shows violence against women widespread in Indonesia


A woman in Jakarta, Indonesia. A new survey reveals women in the country face high rates of violence. © CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Dita* never imagined that she would be a single mother at the age of 33. But after enduring 10 years of an abusive marriage, she found herself alone and struggling to raise two children.

Her husband had seemed nice enough at first. “When I met him, he was kind and polite,” Dita said.

But soon after their wedding, he forced her to abandon her career. Things escalated from there.

“My husband would beat me and use harsh words when he was angry, sometimes in front of the children,” she said.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 12:47:11 PM

Midwives offer care, dignity and a lifeline for Haiti's mothers


"We are rewarded when we hear the newborn’s cry and see the mother’s smile," said midwife Résia Pierre Pierre (right). © UNFPA Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Elizabeth was exhausted after hours of contractions at the Petite Place Cazeau clinic, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Finally, with gentle guidance from the midwife, she gave one last push. Stifled cries filled the delivery room.

The nurse presented a baby girl to the new mother. Through half-closed eyes, Elizabeth watched as her daughter was cleaned and weighed.

Afterward, in a spacious recovery room, she cradled her baby – whom she had named Lisa.

Thursday, May 04, 2017 12:34:10 PM

To reduce maternal deaths, look to midwives


"A mother’s trust in a midwife is the first medicine for a successful delivery," says Burcard Umuhoza, a midwife in Gisenyi, Rwanda. © UNFPA Rwanda/Maureen Twahirwa

GISENYI, Rwanda – “Mothers and babies lose their lives due to complications that could have been prevented,” Burcard Umuhoza, 28, told UNFPA in a frank conversation about the trials he faces as a midwife in the Gisenyi District Hospital in Rwanda.

“A challenge that hurts a lot is that some women choose to deliver their babies at home, and when they experience complications, they rush to hospital, when their condition is critical,” he said, adding, “My worst moment is to see a mother dying, despite all interventions.”

Wednesday, May 03, 2017 2:35:22 PM

Heroic midwives save lives amid Syria’s chaos


“There has been an exodus of qualified midwives and reproductive health professionals,” Shatha Al Mostafa told UNFPA. © UNFPA/Nadine Cornier

GAZIANTEP, Turkey – Midwife Shatha Al Mostafa started her career at the most difficult time possible – amid the escalating violence, insecurity and human rights abuses in her home country, Syria.

Since graduating from midwifery school two years ago, she has practiced in hospitals and health centres under bombardment, and seen health professionals flee the country one by one.

Monday, May 01, 2017 8:44:36 PM

South Sudan clashes force pregnant women into the bush, over the border


Rose Akongo, 26, was in labour by the time she arrived at the border post. © UNFPA Uganda/Evelyn Matsamura Kiapi

LAMWO, Uganda – Nine mothers stood in a single-file line, cuddling their newborn babies, in a refugee reception centre in northern Uganda. Visibly exhausted and anxious, each had a story to tell about being heavily pregnant, and nearing their expected delivery dates, when they were forced to flee the armed conflict raging in Pajok, a town in South Sudan.

Friday, April 28, 2017 3:10:10 AM


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