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Obstetric fistula 'should be included among neglected tropical diseases'
A new research paper has called for obstetric fistula to be included among the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
According to Dr L Lewis Wall of Washington University in St Louis, obstetric fistula fits many of the parameters for a NTD, even though it cannot be passed on to other women.
Speaking to Science Blogs, he explained that he believes the emphasis on infectious diseases has meant other important forms of morbidity and mortality have been neglected, with obstetric fistula among them.
"Surgical services are not high on the list of most public health interventions and infectious disease specialists and public health workers are, in general, ill-equipped to deal with surgical issues or obstetric issues," Dr Wall said, adding obstetric fistulas can be straightforward to prevent and treat once the proper medical personnel and training is available.
Edwige Ravaomanana, spokeswoman for the UN Population Fund, recently told AFP that poverty is one of the main causes of obstetric fistula, while many affected women lack access to the healthcare they need.
Posted by Paul Robertson