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Obstetric Fistula Classification Consortium

In March 2009, an Obstetric Fistula Classification Consortium was created to take on the review and validation process of internationally recognized fistula classification system(s). Johns Hopkins is a member of the Classification Consortium which consists of a diverse group of members, including expert fistula surgeons, health care professional associations, academic institutions, international nongovernmental organizations, bilateral donors, and UN agencies.

The goal of the Classification Consortium is to identify and build consensus for a standardized classification. International recognition and use of a standardized classification system will facilitate the development of a universally applicable, cost-effective approach to clinical management of fistula. The system will also serve as a primary research tool in all future treatment-focused investigations, will facilitate comparative fistula-related research across health care facilities, and will contribute to strengthened training curricula. Participation requires a commitment to attend meetings, review and provide feedback on draft documents, and assist with advocacy to ensure adoption of the classification system within each member's constituency and among other partners.

The first meeting of the Classification Consortium was held March 24-25, 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland, at the World Health Organization. The agenda included presentations on the history and background leading up to the meeting, need for the Consortium, a review of existing classification systems, and ongoing research. In addition, participants discussed the Consortium structure and plan and worked in small groups to discuss issues such as terminology of fistula, data analysis, validation, and dissemination.


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