A congressional briefing yesterday examined the effects of obstetric fistula, a hole in the birth canal suffered by young women who lack emergency obstetric care during prolonged labor. Particularly in developing nations, women who endure obstetric fistula are often ostracized due to their incontinence, odor, infertility, and inability to perform the duties expected of them in their community. Approximately 130,000 new cases develop every year, Dr. Steve Arrowsmith, vice president for International Program Development at the Worldwide Fistula Fund, said during the briefing. funny picturesfunny imagesfunny photosfunny animal picturesfunny dog picturesfunny cat picturesfunny gifs
Obstetric fistula is a reflection of poverty and the lack of maternal health care and family planning in some of the poorest countries. Cases in the developed world are now virtually nonexistent because mothers are typically older and are attended by skilled medical professionals during the birthing process.
The condition can be surgically repaired. Access to the proper treatment facilities, however, is restricted, in part, by the "brain drain," or the mass movement of skilled physicians to countries with higher pay and standards of living than their own. Efforts are currently underway not only to train, but also to retain, skilled surgeons in African countries. Additionally, facilities and healthcare providers in developing countries lack much-needed funding and resources. President Bush has withheld funding for the past five years from the United Nations Population Fund, a major player in the fight to eradicate fistula.
Speakers at the briefing included Arrowsmith; Dr. Lisa Thomas, director of EngenderHealth's Safe Motherhood Program; Dr. Anders Seim, executive director of Health and Development International; and Dr. Arletty Pinel, head of the Reproductive Health Branch of the UNFPA. Maurice Middleberg, vice president for Public Policy at the Global Health Council, moderated the session.
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .