Existence of a national ostetric fistula policy or strategy

The existence of a national obstetric fistula (OF) policy or strategy either as a stand-alone document or integrated into national health or reproductive health policies or strategies.

Evidence of a stand-alone national OF policy/strategy, or of a national policy/strategy that includes OF

Actual policy/strategy document with evidence of approval (or submission for approval)

This input indicator measures the extent of government support for prevention and/or treatment of OF.  It is meant to capture earlier stages of support for the policy continuum, whereas other indicators can capture a policy included in an implementation or action plan or if a policy has been funded and implemented. In many cases it takes time to strengthen the policy environment and in the meantime, policies drafted reflect a measure of support for OF. Although individual OF programs and organizations may perform in a highly effective manner, a supportive policy environment with an official OF policy/strategy helps better allocate and share the scarce resources available to eliminate OF.

Development of a national OF policy/strategy depends on the country context.  Whether a country develops a stand-alone policy or includes OF in broader national policies, such as sexual and reproductive health, education, gender-based violence, or roadmaps for reducing maternal and neonatal mortality, the development of such policies often entails a multi-year process.   Furthermore, policy development and strategic planning and implementation at the national level often requires the participation of various government ministries (e.g., finance, planning, information, education, interior ministries), as well as NGOs, women’s groups, religious and civic organizations, and the private sector.

A policy that has not been revised for five or more years may not accurately reflect the policy needs in the country.  Therefore, even if a national OF policy exists, evaluators may wish to evaluate if it is still current and relevant.

policy, safe motherhood (SM), obstetric fistula (OF)