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The IntraHealth-supported Fistula Care Project and other USAID fistula programs have now reached 10,000 women in 12 countries with life-altering treatment for obstetric fistula. Obstetric fistula is an injury caused by prolonged labor: blood vessels in the mother’s birth canal are compressed, and the resultant tissue death produces a hole between her vagina and bladder, rectum, or both, through which waste passes uncontrollably. While this condition is almost entirely preventable through access to emergency obstetric care and voluntary family planning services, thousands of women in under-resourced countries develop fistula every year.
The Fistula Care Project, led by EngenderHealth, works with ministries of health, faith-based organizations and nongovernmental organizations, and other partners in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia to provide fistula repair services and outreach. IntraHealth currently supports the project in Ethiopia and Mali. In these countries, IntraHealth works to inform community workers about fistula and where women can obtain treatment and supports EngenderHealth with training of medical personnel to treat patients with fistula; the surgical treatment has a 90% success rate.