Obstetric fistula has largely been eliminated in developed countries, but more than two million women and girls still live with the condition, the head of the United Nations women's health agency today said, calling for investment and support to eliminate the debilitating and stigmatizing condition.

Obstetric fistula is a hole in the birth canal caused by obstructed labour. Women who experience obstetric fistula suffer constant incontinence, shame, social segregation and health problems.

The condition, which affects between 50,000 and 100,000 new women and girls each girl, is believed to be largely avoided by delaying the first age of pregnancy, avoiding harmful traditional practices, and receiving medical attention in time.

In recognition of women who have endured this condition for decades, this year's theme is 'Hope, healing and dignity for all' with a special focus on those most left behind, excluded and shunned by society.

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