Father Aldo Marchesini and Jhpiego recognized with UN Population Award
UNITED NATIONS, New York – On 12 June, UNFPA celebrated the winners of the 2014 United Nations Population Award: Father Aldo Marchesini, a doctor and Catholic priest who treats obstetric fistula sufferers in Mozambique, and the maternal and child health organization Jhpiego.
Both award winners have dedicated more than four decades to saving the lives and preserving the health of women around the world.
Together, their efforts have improved and expanded reproductive and maternal health care, benefiting countless women and their families.
The cause of a lifetime
Dr. Marchesini, originally from Italy, learned to treat obstetric fistula in 1973, while training at a hospital in Uganda. He knew immediately that he would devote his life to the cause.
Obstetric fistula is a complication of childbirth occurring almost exclusively in places where basic maternal health care is unavailable. Prolonged or obstructed labour tears a hole in the birth canal, leading to chronic incontinence and, often, social isolation and marginalization.
“The following year, 1974, I went to Mozambique and I began to operate on every woman appearing in my hospital,” Dr. Marchesini said. Those who arrived for treatment were “suffering and rejected women,” he explained.
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