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Fistula Foundation

The Dilemma

Fistula occurs because most mothers in poor countries give birth without any medical assistance.
It only costs $586 on average to repair a fistula and transform one woman's life forever.

In the US or Europe, when a woman has obstructed labor a C-section is performed. In developing countries, obstructed labor often results in the death of the mother and child, and often the woman is left with a fistula. A fistula is a hole that makes it impossible for a woman to hold her urine, and sometimes her bowels. A woman with a fistula is likely to be rejected by her husband because of her foul smell. She might be shunned by her community and forced to live an isolated existence. Many of these women suffer profound psychological trauma resulting from their utter loss of status and dignity, and that is in addition to the constant suffering from their internal physical injury.

The best data available shows that 1,000,000 women in Africa and Asia are currently suffering from obstetric fistula, a heartbreaking injury that is both preventable and treatable.

The Mother’s Day Movement Campaign

The funds raised by MDM's campaign supported the work of Dr. Steve Arrowsmith, Fistula Foundation’s Medical Director, to help deliver one-on-one training to fistula surgeons handling increasingly complex cases of fistula. By working directly with local partners providing fistula treatment in Africa and Asia, Fistula Foundation supports a variety of training opportunities for in-house surgeons, helping build critical skills that advance fistula treatment and increase the number of qualified surgeons who can conduct repairs. This reduces the waiting time for women who are desperate for treatment in the hopes that they can rejoin their communities, their health fully restored.

In Their Own Words

“Fistula Foundation was honored to have been selected as Mother’s Day Movement’s featured charity in 2013. This initiative delivered $60,000 in support of our efforts to train fistula surgeons in Africa and Asia, building the skills that are enabling the backlog of women to get treatment faster.

In 2016, The Fistula Foundation passed a significant milestone, having delivered more than 20,000 surgeries to women across 31 countries. That number continues to grow at a steady pace, thanks to the support of organizations like the Mothers' Day Movement, that help us provide more skilled care to more women, year after year."

Kate Grant
CEO, Fistula Foundation