Press Release

Campaign to End Fistula Wins Prestigious Award and Recognition as a Champion in the Field of Public Health

18 December 2008
Author: UNFPA

UNITED NATIONS, New York—The Campaign to End Fistula was today recognized as a model for championing collaboration between countries in the Global South, receiving an award of excellence from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The award committee of UNDP's Special Unit for South-South Cooperation highlighted the Campaign's innovative approach in the prevention and treatment of obstetric fistula and the rehabilitation of fistula survivors. UNFPA was recognized for facilitating connections among countries to share knowledge and expertise.

With the help of UNFPA, health providers and civil society organizations have travelled from Nigeria to Sudan, from Ethiopia to Niger, from Mali to Cameroon, and more, to exchange experiences and innovative models. Health ministries from different countries have worked towards common solutions, and fistula survivors have become influential advocates, raising awareness of the debilitating condition.

This year's award recipients were chosen for their achievements and the impact of their work. To this end, the Campaign, which began in 12 countries in 2003 and now spans 45 countries in Africa, Asia and the Arab region, has demonstrated a cross-cutting approach to eliminating fistula. This comprehensive approach takes into account the health, education, economics, transportation, communications and social and cultural norms related to fistula.

"We are extremely proud of this recognition," said Faustin Yao, Director of UNFPA's Sub-Regional Office in Dakar. "It is so important to the millions of women living with this terrible condition. By strengthening South-South cooperation, national health systems can shorten the learning curve in addressing this problem. We can work together to end fistula by ensuring universal access to reproductive health in general and care facilities in particular, strengthening maternal health systems and promoting women's empowerment."

The UNDP awards were given to six organizations as part of The Global South-South Development Expo, a landmark initiative commemorating United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation, on 19 December. Since 2004, the event has served as an energizing platform to highlight the importance of exchanging resources, technology and knowledge among developing countries towards their mutual advancement.

In announcing the award, Yiping Zhou, Director, Special Unit for South-South Cooperation, acknowledged the Campaign to End Fistula as a “champion in the field of public health”. Additionally, UNFPA staff was invited to take part in the Expo from 16 to19 December at the United Nations Secretariat to share successful solutions and explore new ways of collaborating in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Contact information:

Christina Vrachnos

Tel.: 212-294-5279

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