On International Women’s Day, Rep. Carolyn Maloney introduces bill to prevent and treat obstetric fistula worldwide

Mar 8, 2011
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), along with cosponsors Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Gwen Moore (D-WI), and Pete Stark (D-CA) today introduced “The Fistula Prevention, Treatment, Hope and Dignity Restoration Act,” legislation which would authorize the President to provide assistance to prevent and treat women suffering from obstetric fistula, a horrific and debilitating condition that occurs in women after prolonged labor, predominantly in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Arab States.

“It’s appropriate to be introducing this bill on the 100th annual International Women’s Day; it will help ease the suffering of mothers suffering with obstetric fistula, reduce the impact on their families, and demonstrate the United States’ commitment to the health of women and children around the world,”  Rep. Maloney said. “Preventing obstetric fistula can change lives—and it’s almost entirely preventable. The World Health Organization estimates between 50,000 and 100,000 new cases arise each year, added to an estimated 2 million current cases—and when the condition does develop, the vast majority of cases are treatable.”

The bill authorizes the President to provide assistance to prevent and treat fistula worldwide, including through increasing access to prenatal care, emergency obstetric care, postnatal care, and voluntary family planning; building local capacity and improving national health systems; and supporting reintegration and training programs to help women who have undergone treatment return to full and productive lives. The legislation also supports coordination among donors, multilateral institutions, the private sector, nongovernmental and civil society organizations.

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Complete text of the legislation may be found here.

Maloney blog post on “Reproductive Health Reality Check” blog may be viewed here.