Ad agency joins UN Population Fund to fight fistula

4 November 2004

The London office of the advertising agency Young & Rubicam is lending its creative services to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for a campaign to end fistula, a debilitating and sometimes deadly obstetric condition.

The London office of the advertising agency Young & Rubicam is lending its creative services to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for a campaign to end fistula, a debilitating and sometimes deadly obstetric condition.

The agency will work with UNFPA to break the silence around the injury, which often carries stigma, through the production of broadcast, print and electronic materials.

"The public needs to know about fistula because there is something we can do about it," said James Murphy, Managing Director of Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe (RKCR/Y&R), the London affiliate of the Young & Rubicam network.

Obstetric fistula is a preventable childbirth injury that affects at least 2 million women worldwide. Lack of medical intervention during prolonged obstructed labour damages the woman's soft pelvic tissues and creates a hole, or fistula, in her bladder and/or rectum.

The condition is usually fatal for the baby, while causing severe physical and emotional trauma to the mother who may suffer from leaking, infections and nerve damage. The social fallout is also severe, with many victims ostracized by their communities.

"Fistula is a double sorrow because these women lose their babies and they lose their lives," said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Executive Director of UNFPA. "Fistula is more than just a medical condition. It is also a social problem because it is linked with shame and rejection."

In addition to being preventable, fistula is curable through reconstructive surgery, which typically has success rates of 90 per cent for uncomplicated cases.

"The key to ending fistula lies with prevention," stressed Ms. Obaid, pointing out that many developed nations have achieved this over the last century. "In countries where family planning is available and affordable, births are attended by skilled medical professionals and emergency obstetric care is available for women who develop complications, fistula is uncommon."

 

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