SANTA BARBARA, Calif., May 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) and Direct Relief have signed an agreement in Washington D.C. to expand and enhance the care provided to women receiving surgical repair for obstetric fistula, a devastating birth injury that occurs overwhelmingly in developing countries and typically leaves women socially ostracized and destitute in addition to physically injured.
FIGO, the standard-setting body for obstetric and gynecological care internationally, has developed a Global Competency-Based Fistula Surgery Training Manual to ensure the quality of obstetric fistula repair surgeries. Direct Relief, a nonprofit organization that is among the world's largest providers of humanitarian medical material aid, has developed a complementary module of essential surgical supplies that are required to perform repair surgeries to the highest standards, consistent with the FIGO-identified competencies.
Obstetric fistula is a severe and debilitating childbirth injury primarily caused by prolonged and obstructed labor. In most cases of obstructed labor in which a fistula develops, the baby is stillborn. If untreated, a woman with obstetric fistula often will be left incontinent, stigmatized, and isolated as a result. It is estimated that more than one million women across the globe are currently living with fistula, and this condition can be treated and often cured through what is often a simple surgical procedure.
However, in areas where obstetric fistula is most prevalent, women with the debilitating condition lack access to life-changing surgical care. Key factors that prevent access to care include limited surgical capacity generally, limited specialized surgical training on fistula repair, and the costs of surgical supplies needed for the procedures.
Direct Relief's Fistula Repair Module, which contains a standardized set of high-quality medicines and surgical supplies, is the product of a multi-year collaboration between Direct Relief and an extensive network of fistula surgeons, nurses, physiotherapists, infectious disease specialists, fistula advocacy and funding organizations, other experienced medical professionals, and healthcare companies.
Sized to equip 50 fistula repair surgeries, each module contains medications such as antibiotics, analgesics, drugs for anesthesia, and marker dye; surgical supplies such as gloves, sutures, instruments, and catheters; nursing supplies including gauze, IV catheters, and surgical tape; and diagnostic equipment such as thermometers and blood pressure kits.
The Modules, valued at $5,000 or roughly $100 per surgical procedure, are delivered free-of-charge to approved members of Direct Relief's Fistula Repair Provider Network, which now encompasses 55 healthcare institutions in 23 countries.
Several products included in the Module are donated by healthcare companies, including Ansell (surgical gloves), BD (needles and syringes), Bard (catheters), Johnson & Johnson companies Ethicon (sutures) and Janssen (bladder control medications), and Merck (bladder control medication), as well as donations of consumer health products requested by fistula surgeons, such as Vaseline from Unilever.
Direct Relief has been supporting healthcare facilities with donations of essential medical supplies to help enable fistula repair surgeries since 2003, and each year the program has continued to expand and extend its reach. Also, in partnership with the Fistula Foundation and UNFPA, Direct Relief publishes and maintains the Global Fistula Map to aggregate and visualize information regarding obstetric fistula incidence, research, and surgical repair activities.
In 2015, Direct Relief delivered 60 modules – enough to enable 3,000 life-restoring surgeries for women in need – to facilities in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
In 2016, Direct Relief will be providing enough modules for over 5,000 surgeries.
Established in 1954 in Geneva, Switzerland, FIGO was founded to bring professional obstetrical and gynecological associations from all over the world together to improve women's health and rights and to reduce disparities in healthcare services available to women and newborns, as well as to advance the science and practice of obstetrics and gynecology. For more than 60 years, the organization has pursued its mission through advocacy, programmatic activities, capacity strengthening of member associations, education, and training. Now based in London, FIGO currently has members associations in 130 countries and territories across the globe.
About Direct Relief:
Founded in 1948, Direct Relief is a California-based nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian medical aid in all 50 states and more than 70 countries, with a stated mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergency situations. The only U.S. humanitarian nonprofit to obtain Verified Accredited Wholesale Distributor (VAWD) © accreditation by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, Direct Relief conducts the largest charitable medicines program in the United States and is among the largest private providers globally of humanitarian medical material aid to people in need due to poverty or emergency situations. It is privately funded through charitable contributions and earns top ratings from charity evaluators, including four stars from Charity Navigator and a 100% fundraising efficiency rating from Forbes magazine. Among other distinctions, Direct Relief has been named among the world's ten most innovative nonprofits by Fast Company, received the CECP Directors' Award, the President's Award from Esri for excellence in GIS mapping, and the Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation. For more information visit http://www.DirectRelief.org.
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SOURCE Direct Relief