As we enter the post-MDG world, with the newly-drafted Sustainable Development Goals in hand, the recent launch of the Strategies toward Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality (EPMM) strategy paper at the World Health Assembly is an important moment for the maternal health and global health communities. The EPMM paper lays out five strategic objectives to guide programs working toward EPMM, as well as several cross-cutting actions that support this goal. It is important to remember that many averted maternal deaths may still result in maternal morbidity, including severe and/or chronic conditions.
Obstructed labor can happen to any woman, no matter where she lives. However, it is only in non-wealthy nations that it leads to devastating injuries such as obstetric fistula. While the risk of maternal mortality and injuries is universal, women’s health is not just about women—it is determined by external forces as much as by biology. By looking at how and where we have eradicated obstetric fistula in the past, we hope we can also help illuminate our path forward.
On 23 May 2015, Fistula Care Plus will join UNFPA along with other UN Agencies and global partners in commemorating the annual International Day to End Obstetric Fistula. This year’s theme, “End fistula, restore women’s dignity,” highlights the inequalities related to fistula and the unfortunate ability of this persisting morbidity to rob women of their woman dignity and quality of life. By commemorating 23 May, FC+ joins the international community in working to raise awareness and intensifying activities toward ending obstetric fistula.
The newest Maternal Health Task Force blog post highlights an exciting new report which will be officially launched on May 19. The report, entitled Strategies toward Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality, proposes a global target for maternal mortality, supplemented by context-specific national-level targets. The targets and strategies are grounded in a human rights approach to maternal and newborn health, and focus attention on eliminating significant inequities that persist, resulting in disparities in access quality, and outcomes of care within and between countries.
One of the key factors that determines the length of post-operative inpatient stay is how long a woman needs bladder catheterization, a small tube inserted into the bladder through the urethra to drain urine, after surgery. Catheterization is an essential part of the healing process, but practices vary widely. Fistula Care (now Fistula Care Plus) has conducted a large multi-center randomized controlled trial to determine whether seven-day bladder catheterization can be used instead of 14-day catheterization. The results of this study have now been published in the Lancet: the findings demonstrate that short duration catheterization is safe and effective following simple fistula repair surgery.