LAHORE: Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid renewed the pledge to end Obstetric Fistula from Punjab through a special focus on mother and child health. In her message on the ‘International Day to end Obstetric Fistula’ Dr Yasmin said that Obstetric Fistula was the most devastating medical injury that affects both the physical and mental health of women. She said it should not be left to the fates as to who survives and who suffers such a grievous injury. “Everyone deserves a life of dignity, and this day served as a reminder that we cannot ignore such a promise,” she said. Dr Yasmin said the Health Department under the leadership of Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar was committed to improving maternal health services and ending Obstetric Fistula. Countries around the world mark the international day to end Obstetric Fistula on May 23 with a variety of events to raise awareness of this neglected health and human rights challenge, she said. The minister elaborated that the problem was caused by prolonged, obstructed labor without access to timely problems, depression, social, isolation, and deepening poverty. Dr Yasmin Rashid said the problem was preventable with appropriate medical assistance and its occurrence was a violation of human rights. She said that obstetric fistula had been eliminated in developed nations, as it was preventable, however, an estimated 3000 to 50000 new cases of the disease develop each year in Pakistan. The minister appreciated the efforts of the Pakistan National Forum on Women’s Health, Fistula Foundation, and Jahandad Society of Community Development for providing free surgical services for the treatment of fistula in Pakistan. She informed that over the last seven years, Fistula Foundation had directly supported more than 3,400 women and girls to receive surgical treatment for fistula in Pakistan through their seven regional centers in the country. The campaign was based on the three key strategies of prevention treatment and social reintegration of survivors, she added. She said that the Pakistan National Forum on Women’s Health was implementing this project by providing surgical treatments, training for doctors and mid-level healthcare providers, and raising awareness on social issues related to obstetric fistula.