In honor of the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, Health & Development International (HDI) announced the results of its Rapid Maternal Mortality and Obstetric Fistula Prevention Project today, in advance of its second hosted global meeting on this topic to be held at The Carter Center in Atlanta on March 9 and 10.
This is the world's first pilot project devoted to the rapid prevention of obstetric fistula in women. Obstetric fistula is an injury resulting from obstructed childbirth commonly affecting girls and young women in under developed countries in Africa and Asia where caesarian section is not available. The injury leaves these young mothers with a devastating condition that causes constant human waste leakage that is permanent unless corrected by surgery.
For the project, 250 villages in Bankilare, Niger were monitored. Since its introduction two years ago, more than 20,000 women in a population of 100,000 are now protected and obstructed labor deaths have been eliminated in these target areas, while obstetric fistula has been markedly reduced. In addition, medical records show prenatal consultations are up 63 percent and births in health settings are up 70 percent.
Leaders in the global health arena will attend the meeting at The Carter Center to discuss the successful results and explore the possibilities for further expansion of the initiatives elsewhere, by other agencies.
Dr. Bill Foege, senior fellow in the Global Health Program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will be the keynote speaker at the meeting. Also expected to attend are representatives from United Nation agencies, major foundations and academics in the field of reproductive health from three continents.
"So far, we have seen notable success. Deaths from obstructed labor are down 100 percent within the project area," said Dr. Anders R. Seim, Executive Director of HDI. "This meeting will provide us with an incredible opportunity to liaise with top minds in global reproductive health and hopefully bring more attention and effort to this devastating yet preventable injury."
"HDI's demonstrated success in the pilot Rapid Maternal Mortality and Obstetric Fistula Prevention Project shows great potential in helping to prevent this terrible health issue," said Dr. Donald R. Hopkins, an HDI trustee and MacArthur Fellowship award winner for his work to eradicate Guinea worm disease.
Given the results of this pilot project, HDI hopes to expand its efforts to a larger area reaching 263,000 women by the end of 2010.
Health & Development International