What We Do
Tens of thousands of women in Niger are already enduring a life of pain, fear and misery due to obstetric fistula and thousands of new cases occur each year. It is estimated that more than three million of the most impoverished and disenfranchised women in the world needlessly suffer from this horrible condition.
Founded in 1995, the Worldwide Fistula Fund is a not-for-profit public charity that provides medical treatment for women suffering from obstetric fistula in sub-Saharan Africa. Fistula, which are holes in the vagina caused during difficult or obstructed labor, destroy a woman’s ability to “hold” her urine or feces. Instead, her waste flows uninterrupted through the hole and out of her vagina. Terrified, ashamed and often grieving the loss of the stillborn child whose labor caused the condition, fistula sufferers frequently are cast out of their marriages and homes. They are unable to work, socialize or even feed themselves. As one might expect, this condition is so devastating – so demoralizing – it can lead to severe depression and even suicide. Even worse? Fistula – and its horrible aftermath – often strikes the youngest mothers – 12-, 13- or 14-year olds whose pelvises are not large enough to pass their babies through.
Since its inception, the Worldwide Fistula Fund has provided free obstetric fistula surgeries to women in Niger, an extremely impoverished country in north Africa. The surgeries, which cost about $450, are relatively quick to perform, have relatively short recovery times and can change the course of a woman’s entire life.
But we are not stopping there.