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Also, mark your calendars for March 8, 2021! We are hosting a virtual event on #InternationalWomensDay entitled, “Towards a Fistula-Free Future: 15 Years of Breakthroughs and Program Impact.” Register today: http://bit.ly/FCPlus-Webinar

Thanks everyone! The FC+ website is a great place to start for more information and resources on fistula prevention and treatment, including research results, project reports, and stories from providers and clients. http://bit.ly/fistularesources https://twitter.com/EngenderHealth/status/1364608432880443393

Obstetric fistula is a beacon of inequality, as it occurs where women are already living with limited resources and access to healthcare. Additionally, once fistula occurs, women often face significant stigma and isolation which can impact their social and economic wellbeing. https://twitter.com/EngenderHealth/status/1364605591528886273

We also must strengthen the healthcare workforce, particularly by supporting high-quality surgical training to ensure women receive quality c-sections when needed–a focus of the new @USAID_MOMENTUM Safe Surgery in Family Planning & Obstetrics project led by @EngenderHealth.

Great question! To truly #EndFistula, we must prevent new cases while treating existing ones. Some keys to fistula prevention are girls’ education, addressing poverty, delaying marriage age, access to sexual & repro healthcare, and timely & high-quality emergency obstetric care. https://twitter.com/EngenderHealth/status/1364605397756182530

Yes. Depending on severity, there are surgical & non-surgical treatment options. The Fistula Care Plus (FC+) project works to strengthen the entire continuum of care–from prevention to fistula diagnosis, safe surgical repair, rehabilitation, & reintegration back to her community. https://twitter.com/EngenderHealth/status/1364605303858282499

Obstetric fistula is a maternal injury that can occur from prolonged/obstructed labor where a woman is left with a hole in the birth canal that leaks urine and/or feces. An estimated 2 million women live with this devastating condition–almost all in low & middle-income countries. https://twitter.com/EngenderHealth/status/1364598320333791237

Starting now! Tune in to for an interactive session on obstetric fistula with the @USAID @fistulacare Plus project.

"Everyone, equally, has a human right to health. However, our health systems, communities, and nations do not support people's health equally or equitably."

Read the full text from @EngenderHealth & @POuagaPF on diversity and solidarity in global health: https://bit.ly/3uvFsCO

Prioritize inclusion of people who suffer the most from inequities in health and health-care for designing solutions to address their needs. Commentary with @EngenderHealth team who talk about #power & #DiversityandInclusion in global health @TraciLBaird https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(21)00029-2/fulltext#%20

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April 10, 2020

Virtual Panel – Innovative Solutions to Reduce Barriers to Fistula Care

EngenderHealth hosted a virtual panel on the USAID-funded Fistula Care Plus (FC+) project, with partners Population Council and Viamo, to discuss learnings from an intervention to improve access to fistula care in Nigeria and Uganda.

Despite the expansion of fistula treatment programs in several affected countries, many women lack information about or access to fistula diagnosis and treatment. Digital health technologies have the potential to increase access to care for chronic maternal morbidities, such as obstetric fistula, and for women facing stigma, geographic isolation, and other socio-cultural barriers to care-seeking. The use of digital health technologies has expanded across low-resource settings, including in programs seeking to improve maternal health care seeking and service usage. However, there has been limited use of these technologies for screening and referral within maternal health, and many interventions have relied on SMS tools, which may have limited impact in settings with low female literacy.

The FC+ project, led by EngenderHealth, recently completed a research-to-action collaboration in partnership with the Population Council to identify and address hurdles to fistula diagnosis and repair in Nigeria and Uganda. The research study documented the process of developing and implementing an innovative fistula screening and referral hotline using Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) technology and described the service usage results and stakeholder perspectives associated with the hotline.

IVR hotline instructions in four different languages

Flyer for the intervention’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR) hotline, featuring instructions in Hausa, Igbo, and Nigerian Pidgin – languages common in the intervention areas in Nigeria – as well as Luganda language used in Uganda.

During the virtual panel, guest panelists from the FC+ project, Population Council, Viamo, and USAID, shared lessons learned for the sustainable scale-up and integration of digital health solutions for health screening and treatment programs, as well as for interventions to address stigmatized and neglected conditions. Using multiple communication pathways, strong links to community health systems, and an innovative digital health solution developed in partnership with Viamo that targets stigma and literacy barriers, FC+ increased access to fistula screening and referral. The intervention responded to highly gendered barriers to health information and care and helped hundreds of underserved women access free fistula screening, diagnosis, and treatment services.

Related Links 

Innovative Solutions to Reduce Barriers to Fistula Care Presentation 

Identifying and Responding to Barriers to Fistula Care: A Research to Action Partnership 

Use of interactive voice response technology to address barriers to fistula care in Nigeria and Uganda 

Removing barriers to fistula care: Applying appreciative inquiry to improve access to screening and treatment in Nigeria and Uganda 

“Poverty is the big thing”: exploring financial, transportation, and opportunity costs associated with fistula management and repair in Nigeria and Uganda 

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