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COVID-19: How We’re Responding

Our Work

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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Informed and Voluntary Decision Making

EngenderHealth is a pioneer in improving the quality of health care. One fundamental component of quality is ensuring that individuals are making informed decisions about services that directly impact their health. In the case of family planning, this includes making choices about whether they wish to have children, the number of children to have, and the spacing (number of years) between each pregnancy.

In an effort to advance informed decision making and ensure that family planning programs are voluntary and protect and fulfill women’s rights, EngenderHealth is taking a lead role in outlining steps needed to integrate human rights into family planning programming. With the goal of upholding a woman-centered and rights-focused approach, EngenderHealth’s work strives to operationalize human rights at the policy, service delivery, and community levels.

Informed choice is a voluntary, well-considered decision that an individual makes on the basis of options, information, and understanding. The decision-making process should result in a voluntary and informed decision by the individual about whether he or she wishes to obtain health services and, if so, what method or procedure the individual will choose and consent to receive.

Informed consent results from communication between a client and provider confirming that the client has made an informed and voluntary choice to use or receive a medical method or procedure. Informed consent can only be obtained after the client has been given full information about the nature of the medical procedure, its associated risks and benefits, and other alternatives. Consent cannot be obtained by means of inducement, force, fraud, deceit, duress, bias, or other forms of coercion or misrepresentation.

EngenderHealth publishes a number of technical training and educational materials about counseling, informed choice, and informed consent, including publications on family planning and the special counseling and consent needs of sterilization clients.

Informed Consent

Health care providers are often required by law or institutional policies to obtain informed consent before administering certain medical procedures, including experimental methods or procedures. Although informed consent is often equated with a signed written form used to document an individual’s decision, written consent is neither inherently necessary nor sufficient. Regardless of the presence or absence of written documentation, informed consent requires providers to ensure that a client receiving a method or treatment has knowingly and voluntarily agreed to be treated. Whether informed consent is written or verbal, however, it cannot replace the informed choice process, which is dependent on counseling and the information exchange between providers and clients.

Informed and voluntary client consent is especially important before a medical procedure that has a permanent or long-acting effect or that requires the skills of a trained provider. In family planning, voluntary sterilization is unique, in that it involves a surgical procedure to end fertility permanently. Therefore, many providers and funding agencies that support sterilization services specify the elements for informed consent and require written documentation of the client’s consent. Although the purpose of informed consent should be to ensure the client’s right to make a voluntary and informed decision, written consent is often required to provide evidence of provider compliance with informed consent requirements and to reinforce the importance of this client right.

EngenderHealth publishes a number of materials on counseling, informed choice, and informed consent, including publications on family planning and the special counseling and consent needs of sterilization clients.

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