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(June 14, 2001, Gazette)

New CD-rom helps
mothers in the developing world

New CD-ROM cover - Obstetric FistulaeThe cover of the new CD-Rom for health care professionals

By Sharon Gray

With the help of resources at Memorial University, MaterCare International has developed a CD-ROM to familiarize health care professionals with the surgical and nursing care of women with obstetric fistula.

This condition usually occurs in very young mothers, aged between 14 and 20 years, because of obstructed labour and cultural practices such as female circumcision. For every death from childbirth in developing countries, another 30 women suffer long-term damage to their health when the baby dies and damage is caused to the bladder and rectum during prolonged labour. These mothers become incontinent of urine and/or feces and are social outcasts.

Obstetrician Dr. Bob Walley, Faculty of Medicine, has been championing the cause of these women for many years. He founded MaterCare International ( and has now helped develop a CD-ROM which offers an introduction to the surgery and nursing management of obstetric fistulae.

The CD-ROM was developed by the Multi Media Instructional Development Centre, Faculty of Medicine; with the co-operation of the Health Sciences Information and Media Services, including medical illustrations by Sylvia Ficken; the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; the School of Nursing at Memorial and the School of Nursing at York University; and consultant physicians in the United Kingdom and Nigeria.

“This presentation is not meant to be a definitive and comprehensive training program,” said Dr. Walley. “We wanted to provide an overview of obstetric fistulae and stimulate the interest of health care professionals in developing countries to obtain further training in the care of fistula patients.”

The CD-ROM will be made available for free to those working with fistula patients, and will eventually be put on the MaterCare Web site. Dr. Walley said the CD-ROM is also available to any interested persons in the developed world for a donation to MaterCare International. For further information, contact

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