This conference on obstetric fistula, the first of its kind in South Asia, sparked important dialogue and action on the issue and is an indispensable first step towards ending fistula in the region. The conference brought together more than 50 participants from around the world including Dr. Nafis Sadik, Special Ambassador for Fistula, UNFPA staff from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and New York, officials from the Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, representatives from WHO and EngenderHealth, fistula surgeons and other health care professionals from Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Pakistan. The UNFPA Bangladesh Country Office hosted the conference in collaboration with the Technical Support Division (TSD) and the Asia and Pacific Division (APD) of UNFPA Headquarters in New York.
This conference marked the beginning of the UNFPA Campaign to End Fistula's expansion to the South Asian region. The objective of the conference was to introduce UNFPA's fistula campaign in South Asia, to review current knowledge about obstetric fistula in the region and to discuss steps for moving forward with the campaign in the region. Discussions included strategies for fistula programming, as well as raising awareness among policy makers and developing resource mobilization strategies. There was a lively exchange of ideas by international and regional experts at the conference on the causes and consequences of obstetric fistula, strategies for its prevention and treatment and the integration of these interventions in on-going reproductive health programmes.