7 Mar 2011

Centenary of International Women's Day opportunity to focus on obstetric care

11:14 am on 7 March 2011

A doctors aid organisation says the centenary of International Women's Day tomorrow is an opportunity to highlight the need to improve emergency obstetric care for women in developing countries.

Medicins Sans Frontiere's Women's Health advisor in Australia, Bronwyn Hale, has been speaking to doctors and midwives at Auckland and Sydney hospitals about preventing the obstetric complication of fistulas.

She says fistulas or ruptured tissue can occur in obstructed labour where skilled care or caesarean section is unavailable.

"My hope is that women around the world that are going into labour don't have to fear it. In developing settings they can anticipate it as we do here in countries like Australia and New Zealand because they know that their labour and delivery care will be provided by people that know what they're doing to prevent tragedies such as maternal or neonatal deaths or things like fistulas occuring."

Bronwyn Hale says progress is being made to teach rural health providers about signs of problems during pregnancy and labour so more women are referred to specialist care in time.