On July 4 (also U.S. Independence Day), Chief of Mission Natalie E. Brown joined Minister of Health Amina Nur Husein; Dr. Ibrahim Sambuli, Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); Ms. Tekea Tesfamichael, President of the National Union of Eritrean Women; Dr. Habte Haylemelokot and other doctors, nurses, officials, and patients from the National Fistula Referral Center in Mendefera; and residents of the Mendefera area to observe International Obstetric Fistula Day.
An obstetric fistula, a hole between the vagina and rectum or bladder that is caused by prolonged obstructed labor, can cause severe hardships for afflicted women from physical or mental health issues, to social stigmatization, to economic hardship. The National Fistula Referral Center provides treatment free of charge and trains medical professionals in repairing the damage. The Center also provides training to the patients during their recovery. COM Brown had the opportunity to plant a tree at the training facility.
In her remarks, Minister Amina expressed appreciation to the American Friends of UNFPA and the private American citizens who have supported the important work carried out at the National Fistula Referral Center.