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New Tools from the Fistula Care Project

By: Carrie Ngongo and Sarah Burgess, Fistula Care Project

Obstetric fistula is a devastating birth injury that befalls many of the women who narrowly escape maternal death following obstructed labor. Women who suffer from fistula can have their lives transformed by surgical repair. With support from USAID, EngenderHealth’s Fistula Care Project is working to improve treatment and prevention of obstetric fistula.

Fistula Care is pleased to release several tools that will help clinical providers to provide quality fistula services:

  • Family planning can help to prevent obstetric fistula as well as to assist fistula survivors to heal completely from surgery and achieve a successful pregnancy if desired. Family Planning for Women and Couples Following Fistula Care is a booklet for clients that provides information about family planning methods including considerations for fistula survivors and HIV positive women. To facilitate quality family planning counseling, Fistula Care has also developed two posters for service providers: Client-Centered Reproductive Health Counseling Following Fistula Repair and the Quick Reference Chart for Contraceptive Methods.
  • Informed consent is especially important in fistula care services because many women who have lived with fistula have experienced a traumatic event and have become marginalized as a result of their injuries. The booklet, Informed Consent in Fistula Care, will serve as a practical guide for providers regarding the process of obtaining informed consent for fistula treatment.
  • The Fistula Diagnosis Poster and Fistula Diagnosis Job Aid were both developed in Ethiopia by Fistula Care partner IntraHealth. The tools guide service providers though a series of questions to allow them to identify fistula and refer for care appropriately. French translations of this, and the other tools, are forthcoming.
  • The Obstetric Fistula Digital Stories Facilitator’s Guide can help to provoke discussion and dialogue about fistula among women with fistula, health care providers, and members of the greater community. The guide is a companion to the Learn from My Story series, a set of short videos created by Ugandan women who have experienced fistula. The booklet provides the text of each woman’s story along with relevant discussion questions.

The Fistula Care Project continues to provide support for fistula treatment and prevention in ten countries. Between 2005 and September 2010, 17,780 fistula repair surgeries were supported with funding from USAID.

To subscribe to the Fistula Care Project newsletter, click here.

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