Sabina officially launches the Safe Birth 4 All campaign for the global prevention of Obstetric Fistula

Tue 21st May, 2024 | 10:00
location: St Stephen's Green Club, Dublin

Speech by Sabina Higgins at the Launch of the SafeBirth4All Campaign for the global prevention of Obstetric Fistula

21st May, 2024

Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed guests, and dear friends,

It is an honour to stand before you today as we launch the SafeBirth4All Campaign for the Global Prevention of Obstetric Fistula.

I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Father Edward Flynn for inviting me, and all those involved in the SafeBirth4All Campaign for making today’s event possible, for your dedication and commitment to this vital cause.

Obstetric fistula is a degrading injury, a preventable condition affecting an estimated two million women and girls living in remote areas in more than 50 countries worldwide, often leaving them marginalized, ostracised by their community, and in despair.

Today, we come together to change this narrative. The SafeBirth4All Campaign is such a worthy and critical initiative, a beacon of hope, aiming to prevent obstetric fistula through education, improved healthcare access, and the empowerment of women.

In 2014, I had the privilege of visiting the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa. It was an experience that left a profound mark on me, highlighting the resilience and strength of the women affected by this condition and the profound impact of compassionate, skilled care.

A major obstacle to providing fistula treatment throughout the world is the lack of suitably rained surgeons. The global pool of trained fistula surgeons is much more limited in part because obstetric fistula has largely ceased to be a problem in the developed world.

The world-class Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa has not only set the highest standards in treating obstetric fistula patients but also in training the next generation of obstetricians, which is a key solution in fighting this condition.

It also provides comprehensive learning, health and reintegration services with specialist teams to assist local women to reintegrate back into village life, to build self-esteem and to find meaningful employment.

It is so important to note that our efforts today are closely aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), our shared global blueprint for a sustainable future, particularly Goal 3, which focuses on ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all, and Goal 5, achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.

We now stand at a pivotal moment where our collective efforts can bring about significant change in the global fight against obstetric fistula. By supporting the SafeBirth4All campaign, we are advocating for a future where no woman has to suffer from this debilitating condition, where every birth is safe, and where every woman receives the care, dignity and respect she deserves.

Together, let us commit to making SafeBirth4All a reality, ensuring a better, brighter, and healthier future for women around the globe, in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Thank you.