US Agency 'helps 10,000 fistula sufferers'

Some 10,000 women around the world have received surgery for fistula with United States support since 2005, according to the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

It says initiatives such as the Fistula Care project, in collaboration with local governments and healthcare associations, are helping sufferers of the vaginal injury throughout Africa and Asia.

Gloria Steele, acting assistant administrator in USAID's Bureau for Global Health, says the work of the organisation is "just beginning".

She said: "The United States has achieved a major milestone in improving global maternal health - giving 10,000 women hope for a better life.

"None of this would have been possible without the dedication of the local medical teams, government officials, international partners, and the support of the American people."

Fistula is entirely preventable and can be surgically repaired, but most women with the condition lack access to a skilled surgeon or health centre.