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A rarity in countries with functioning health systems, obstetric fistula - incontinence caused by a prolonged labour - is still a reality for thousands of women in our region.

In more and more countries, obstetric fistula repairs and-related activities will need to be a routine part of maternal health services, paying specific attention to young women and girls who are statistically most likely to be affected.

We are therefore working with the Economic Community of West African States Gender Development Center to provide technical support to 15 countries and develop a 5-year action plan to end obstetric fistula.

Our interventions focus on offering surgery to repair the fistula and then training and funding to get affected women socio-economically rehabilitated and included. We also support programmes that educate health workers and midwives and use the media to spread the message that obstetric fistula is a major risk of giving birth as a teenager.