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As part of the Mali Fistula Care Project, IntraHealth recently conducted a training session in fistula counseling at the Gao Nursing School in Northern Mali. The five-day session in March prepared service providers to refer women with obstetric fistula for further care; provide them with necessary information before, during, and after surgery; and advise women on reproductive health (RH), family planning (FP), and sexually transmitted infections.
As an early point of contact in the health care system for many patients, counselors play a vital role in evaluating and recognizing patient needs and concerns, providing accurate information about fistula, assisting patients in making key FP and RH decisions, and counseling patients’ partners and/or families. This training helps ensure the quality of care provided by all the health workers who interact with the patient outside of the actual surgical procedure.