updated 12/16/2010 11:16:53 AM ET 2010-12-16T16:16:53

ST. LOUIS, Dec. 16, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Worldwide Fistula Fund (WFF), a non-profit organization dedicated to the eradication of obstetric fistulas, has joined forces with Dave Matthews to bring awareness to the issue of fistula treatment and prevention in developing nations. At the request of Dave Matthews, the Horton Foundation Fund of the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation will make a $125,000 challenge grant for completion of the WFF's Model Fistula Surgery and Training Center in Danja, Niger.

"The Worldwide Fistula Fund has been working for years to help the millions of women living with a fistula – a devastating childbirth injury which leaves them physically and psychologically traumatized," said Dr. L. Lewis Wall, president and founder of The Worldwide Fistula Fund. "Our partnership with Dave Matthews is an amazing opportunity not only to finish building our hospital but to increase international awareness of fistulas, which are both preventable and curable."

Lead singer of the eponymously named band, Dave Matthews became interested in the plight of fistula sufferers through his cousin, Dr. Catherine Matthews, a urogynecologist who participated in a WFF volunteer surgical mission to Niger earlier this year.

The Dave Matthews Challenge Grant, through the Horton Foundation Fund, will match each donation to the project (up to $125,000) made from now until March 1, 2011. All donations will go towards completion of the Model Fistula Surgery and Training Center in Niger, an impoverished country with few healthcare resources. Ground was broken for the $850,000 Center in 2008 and it is expected to be completed in mid-2011. 

The philanthropic effort is part of a $5 million comprehensive campaign, Healing Women, Restoring Lives, which is not only providing resources to build, equip and staff the Center in Danja, but to launch programs for fistula prevention, social reintegration, medical training and clinical research.

For more information or to make a gift toward the challenge, visit www.WorldWideFistulaFund.org .

About the Worldwide Fistula Fund

Founded in 1995, the Worldwide Fistula Fund (WFF) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides surgical care, social reintegration and physical rehabilitation for African women suffering from obstetric fistula. WFF also supports clinical research and medical training regarding obstetrical trauma in the developing world. More information can be found on its web site, http://www.WorldwideFistulaFund.org .

CONTACT:  Worldwide Fistula Fund
          Michael Rubin
          314.920.5996
          michael@mdrubin.com

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