In February 2012, the Worldwide Fistula Fund (WFF) opened the doors of our new fistula hospital in Danja, Niger. The Danja Fistula Center (DFC Niger) offers a comprehensive range of short- and long-term services to women suffering from obstetric fistulas and also functions as a training and research center for medical professionals.
DFC Niger primarily treats the Hausa women of southern Niger and northern Nigeria. Niger is one of the poorest, most underdeveloped countries in the world. Women are an important part of Hausa culture, but are not seen as equals to their male counterparts and have little opportunity to learn skills to better their family’s position or wealth. A great deal of a woman’s worth is related to her ability to bear and raise children, making the devastation of obstetric fistulas even more profound.
Recent statistics available show that:
- Niger has the world’s highest fertility rate with 7.6 children per woman
- Nearly 83% of deliveries occur outside health facilities
- 53% of women receive no antenatal care at all
- Only 18% of women give birth in the presence of a skilled birth attendant
- Fewer than 20% of obstetric emergencies receive care
- About one in three women living with obstetric fistulas develop it as an adolescent
- 85% of women in Niger are illiterate
The 42-bed hospital at DFC Niger opened with a full-service clinic, pharmacy, lab, three-table operating theater and 24-person long-term stay hostel facility. The center is staffed and run by professionals from the local region, including Dr. Itengré Ouédraogo, an expert fistula surgeon certified by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), a center administrator, anesthesiologist, physical therapist, nurses, nurses’ aides and prevention and social reintegration professionals. The center operates with a multi-tiered approach to obstetric fistula. Services are free to the women and girls helped.
- Obstetric fistula surgery and after-care services.
- Social Reintegration services to help post-operative patients via vocational training and literacy initiatives.
- Prevention outreach and education in the surrounding communities.
- Evidence-based research on obstetric fistulas and maternal health care to better establish needs, treatment opportunities and areas of focus.
- The center is developing and performing evidence-based research on the issues of obstetric fistulas and maternal health care, among others, to better establish needs, treatment opportunities and areas of focus.