Reps. Maloney, Castle introduce bill to prevent and treat obstetric fistula

Jun 2, 2010
Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) last week introduced legislation, “The Obstetric Fistula Prevention, Treatment, Hope and Dignity Restoration Act of 2010,” H.R. 5441, which would authorize funding 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.

“Women around the world are needlessly suffering from the horrors of obstetric fistula. The World Health Organization estimates that between 50,000-100,000 new cases of obstetric fistula develop each year, adding to the estimated 2 million current cases-- yet this condition is almost entirely preventable, and treatable in 90% of cases when it does occur,” Rep. Maloney said. “My bill will help ease the suffering of women suffering with obstetric fistula and demonstrate the United States’ commitment to the health of women and children around the world.”

“I am pleased to be working with Rep. Maloney on this maternal health initiative, which will help address the avoidable agony caused by obstetric fistula," Rep. Castle said. "By focusing on a coordinated and locally relevant approach to prevention and treatment, we can improve the health of women and children around the globe and give them a chance at living full and productive lives.”

The bill supports a comprehensive approach to end obstetric fistula – prevention to eliminate occurrences, treatment to repair those women who already suffer, and rehabilitation to help those recovering fully heal and reenter society.  It focuses on efforts to build local capacity and improve national systems to prevent and treat obstetric fistula.

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Complete text of the legislation may be found here