Ending obstetric fistula in Somalia is critical to achieving HSSPIII and NDP linked to the Sustainable Development Goals and fundamental to improving maternal and newborn health.
Worldwide, an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 women develop fistula annually and approximately 2 million women currently live with fistula, which is a burden in almost 60 countries. Its occurrence is a violation of human rights and a reminder of gross inequities.
Although preventable and virtually non-existent in developed countries, fistula continues to afflict many poor women and girls worldwide who lack access to health services. Scaling up national capacity to provide access to comprehensive emergency obstetric care, treat fistula cases and address the underlying health, socioeconomic, cultural and human rights determinants is fundamental to eliminating fistula.
Somalia has some of the worst maternal health indicators in the world. The fertility rate is very high as are infant and maternal mortality rates; malnutrition is chronic, early marriage is common, and most deliveries are done at home without the presence of a skilled attendant.
Women in Somalia live in a highly insecure context where healthcare infrastructure and maternal health programs have been disrupted and limited in availability for decades.
Facilities tend to be dilapidated, basic equipment and medications are in short supply, and there is a lack of trained medical personnel throughout the country. All of these factors are indicative of a high rate of maternal morbidities such as obstetric fistula. (Fistula Foundation).