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Women's obstetric fistula ward Beira Hosptial Mozambique

A mother who has been hospitalized with obstetric fistula stands holding her infant in the women’s fistula ward at Beira Hospital in Mozambique, Africa. Image: UNFPA

(WNN) United Nations New York, UNITED STATES, AMERICAS: An Italian Catholic priest, who is also a medical doctor, and a non-profit organization in the United States have been chosen this year as recipients of the 2014 United Nations Population Award that recognized outstanding service to women, health and the field of reproductive services.

As a medical surgeon based in Mozambique for years Father Aldo Marchesini worked to save the lives of countless women as he faced personal danger during Mozambique’s civil war. He was kidnapped and imprisoned numerous times by rival factions who saved his life only because he could offer all sides the vital life-saving medical services they needed.

For many years in Mozambique Father Aldo was the first and only doctor to help women who suffered severely from obstetric fistula, a condition often caused by prolonged labour where the uterine wall is damaged causing devastating results. In his efforts to assist women, the Father also personally managed treatment and helped to raise funds for many women who needed surgeries for obstetric fistula in the region.

Dedicating his live to improving the lives of women and healthcare in Africa, Father Aldo also worked in other African regions, including Uganda. This year the United Nations Population Award will be recognizing his outstanding achievement in the fields of population and health.

In addition to recognizing the outstanding life’s work of Father Aldo Marchesini, The Johns Hopkins Programme for International Education in Gynaecology and Obstetrics is the second recipient to be chosen this year for the 2014 United Nations Population Award. This UN award is chosen each year by the UNFPA – United Nations Population Fund.

Founded in 1973 The Johns Hopkins Programme for International Education in Gynaecology and Obstetrics, known as Jhpiego, works to provide global education that can prevent maternal deaths worldwide. To date members of Jhpiego have provided assistance to 160 countries worldwide. The Programme has also trained more than half a million health professionals in family planning and reproductive health.

Jhpiego has been, and continues to be, one of the strongest innovators worldwide in reproductive healthcare training and outreach.

The Award, set up by the General Assembly in 1981, will be presented to this year’s winners on 12 June at the UN.

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