Specifically Named Diseases
Mission: Fistula Foundation is dedicated to treating women suffering from obstetric fistula, a devastating childbirth injury that destroys a woman’s life. It leaves her incontinent, humiliated, and too often shunned by her community. A fistula can occur when a mother has a prolonged, obstructed labor, but doesn’t have access to emergency obstetric care, such as a C-section. Surgery is the only cure.
Results: Fistula Foundation is the global leader in fistula treatment, providing more surgeries to more women than any other organization. To date, we have partnered with more than 150 sites in 32 countries across Africa and Asia to deliver life-changing repair surgeries. Thanks to the incredible support of compassionate people like you, Fistula Foundation surpassed 50,000 surgeries in 2020!
In 2014, we launched a groundbreaking countrywide treatment program in Kenya that has the potential to end fistula across the country in a generation. With your support, we built a network of care that covers every step of a woman’s journey to healing—from training healthcare workers to spread the word in their communities, to training more fistula surgeons, to equipping hospitals with everything they need to provide high-quality care. This strategy has allowed us to effectively treat more Kenyan women than ever before. The program was so successful that Fistula Foundation deployed the countrywide treatment model to a second country, Zambia, in 2017. Both programs are thriving, and we look forward to expanding into more countries as we raise the additional funds to do so.
Target demographics: Obstetric fistula most commonly affects young women in poor, rural areas of Africa and Asia with limited access to emergency obstetric care. The fistula leaves a woman unable to control her urine and/or feces, which can afflict her with chronic infections and pain. What's more, with too little community understanding of fistula and its causes, a woman can be blamed for her condition and shunned by her neighbors and family. Over a million women worldwide suffer from this wrenching condition.
Direct beneficiaries per year: In 2019, we provided 8,258 life-changing fistula surgeries to women in need—this is our main measure of success. To maximize the number of women we can help, we also fund activities that remove obstacles to treatment—including providing certified training for fistula surgeons, enabling grassroots outreach and education in rural communities, and equipping hospitals so they can provide the type of specialized care that fistula patients need.
Geographic areas served: Since adopting a global mission in 2009, we have partnered with more than 150 hospitals and clinics in 32 countries in Africa and Asia. We also operate two countrywide treatment networks in Kenya and Zambia, and look forward to expanding into even more countries in the future.
Programs: Our main focus is to provide as many fistula repair surgeries as possible. We also remove the barriers that stand in the way of women receiving life-changing care, including training for fistula surgeons, equipment and supplies, grassroots community outreach, and holistic post-surgery rehabilitation.