|New Congressional Efforts to Prevent and Treat Obstetric Fistula Underway|
New York, NY - Congressional leaders took a step towards ending
obstetric fistula on Tuesday by introducing “The Fistula Prevention,
Treatment, Hope and Dignity Restoration Act” (H.R. 949). Leading global
advocates applaud this legislation, introduced on International Women’s
Day, which will support the variety of interventions needed to
effectively treat and prevent this condition.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 10, 2011
Theresa Kim, EngenderHealth: firstname.lastname@example.org
Congressional leaders took a step towards ending obstetric fistula on Tuesday by introducing “The Fistula Prevention, Treatment, Hope and Dignity Restoration Act” (H.R. 949). Leading global advocates applaud this legislation, introduced on International Women’s Day, which will support the variety of interventions needed to effectively treat and prevent this condition.
The bill will increase access to prenatal care, emergency obstetric care, postnatal care, and family planning, all of which are essential for preventing fistula; and build the capacity of national health systems to deliver quality services for prevention and treatment. The legislation also addresses underlying social and economic inequities that put girls and women at risk of obstetric fistula, including provisions to help prevent child marriage and to increase access to formal and informal education. Further, the legislation will support programs to help women, who often face stigma and discrimination as a result of the condition, return to full and productive lives after treatment.
"The United Methodist Church’s commitment to the health and rights of women includes efforts to educate about and prevent and treat obstetric fistula. The passage of this legislation would greatly reduce ongoing marginalization and enhance the overall health of millions of women around the globe. We strongly support its passage,” says Linda Bales Todd, staff executive with the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society. The United Methodist Church is a global Christian denomination comprising 12 million members.
The legislation also supports coordination among donors, multilateral institutions including the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the private sector, nongovernmental and civil society organizations, and governments. In addition, monitoring, evaluation, and research to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of such programs throughout their planning and implementation phases will ensure the most efficient and effective use of U.S. foreign assistance dollars.
“The United States has been a global leader in supporting fistula prevention and treatment. This legislation will accelerate progress to transform the health and lives of women everywhere,” said Karen J. Beattie of EngenderHealth. The global organization leads the USAID-funded Fistula Care project, directed by Beattie, which partners with governments and local organizations to increase access to quality fistula repair and treatment services in 11 countries.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), together with Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Gwen Moore (D-WI), and Pete Stark (D-CA)