The right to dignity at the heart of our action

Fistula repairs and gynaecological surgery

March 8 – International Women’s Day

Today, we celebrate women, especially women’s rights. At Mercy Ships, we consider one of them essential. It is the right to dignity.

According to the WHO, between 3 and 4 million women in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are currently living with obstetric fistula, a devastating disability related to complicated childbirth. It often leads to permanent incontinence and, in the worst cases, even fecal incontinence. Perpetually wet and dirty, these women are often rejected by their husbands and ostracized by their families and communities. They live in isolation and shame.

91% of vaginal fistulas can be treated with surgery. On board its hospital ships, Mercy Ships provides reconstructive surgery for women with fistula.

After surgery, these women are the focus of a “dress ceremony” organized by Mercy Ships. They receive a new dress and gifts as a symbol of their newfound dignity and better prospects for the future. For them, it is their honor and dignity that are restored.

La devise de Mercy Ships – Restaurer santé et dignité – trouve ici toute sa signification avec ce programme dédié aux femmes.

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René Progin
René Progin
René Progin is Communication and Media Manager for Mercy Ships Switzerland.

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