Delegate Spotlight | Women's Rights and Wellness: Supriya's Endeavor to Combine her Passions of Women's Health and Equality
by Zachary Thomas
“I'm passionate about global health, especially maternal health and reproductive rights.” shares Supriya Sadagopan, a delegate from North Carolina State University.
Supriya has been deeply involved in global and maternal health. She has traveled to various countries to learn about the issues and really see the impact it has on women, “I have worked on a breastfeeding initiative in India for a summer to raise awareness and promote the benefits of breastfeeding to rural populations in Pallavaram, India. In addition, I have traveled to Guatemala on a service learning trip to learn more about gender discrimination and ways to promote gender equality. I've always had a passion for health as well as women's issues, but only recently did I fully combine these interests together to tackle problems relating to maternal health and reproductive issues. I did this by co-founding an organization called the Triangle Fistula Initiative.” Her organization aims to solve one of the largest issues amongst maternal health: obstetric fistulas. “Obstetric fistulas are a common problem caused by obstructed labor that affects more than 2 million women in the world. These women live in social shame and rarely can afford the medical help they need. The organization's aims are to create a collaborative regional symposium for this year to raise awareness and to formulate a health education plan that can be implemented to help reduce the occurrence of fistulas. Following this, I want to travel to a community in India to enact a health education plan to prevent more obstetric fistulas from occurring. I want to take my passion for reproductive health and global development to work for NGOs and international relief programs.”
Supriya submitted her campaign to the 7th Annual Millennium Campus Conference in hopes of having it launched. "My campaign is structured around the Triangle Fistula Initiative. Obstetric fistulas are a problem that occurs when the mother's body is not completely developed (young) and/or the proper medical attention is not there during childbirth. As a result, the child presses up against the uterine lining near the rectal area for hours, creating a small hole. From there, the mother leaks body fluids for the rest of her life unless surgery is available, causing her to become ostracized and socially shamed by her community. As a co-founder, I am helping to create a symposium about obstetric fistulas in the Triangle area, inviting scholars, students, and collaborators to raise awareness about this issue as well as to develop a health education plan that we can go and teach in these communities to prevent fistulas from occurring. I was inspired to take on this campaign because obstetric fistulas are such a huge issues, but are virtually unheard of.” This issue is something that hurts the mother both socially and physically, and Supriya has the passion to help.
“I'm so excited to attend the conference. I think it's amazing and so inspiring to see so many people who want to make a difference in the world, and it's great meeting other like-minded people. I think conferences like this really help create a support group for individuals who maybe aren't from major cities or have access certain opportunities, and I really enjoy that type of environment.” Supriya urges all those who are equally as passionate as she is about issues such as the Obstetric Fistula to contact her and help her with the initiative. It is something she hopes will aid women everywhere and provide them with better opportunities and well-being.
Supriya is just one of the many amazing delegates already registered for the 7th annual Millennium Campus Conference the United Nations from August 11-15th where she, along with others from around the world, will come together to think, connect, and act to challenge the paradigms that perpetuate inequality and to redefine the world around us. Apply at mcc15.org/delegateapplication to join the movement and promote social change!