Please Note: Microsoft has ended support of its older browsers as of January 2016. If you are seeing this message, you are viewing the site on an unsupported version of Internet Explorer (IE10 or older). To properly view this website, please upgrade your version of IE or access this site using a different browser. Thank you.
Please Note: Microsoft will be ending its support of this browser as of January 2020 and many current standard web features are already not supported by this browser or do not function properly. If you are seeing this message, you are viewing the site on an outdated version of Internet Explorer (IE11 or older). To properly view this website, please upgrade your version of IE or access this site using a different browser. Thank you.
Home Events Videos+ Latest Search

home Publications Blog


Looking Forward to the Future

December 22, 2020

WFF Executive Director, Soja Orlowksi, discusses the goals of our grantees and how we plan to restore hope for women in 2021. Thank you for standing by us through this difficult time, we couldn’t have done it without you.

Guest Blog: A Voice for the Voiceless

December 7, 2020

As a recent vesicovaginal fistula survivor, I have become increasingly aware of contemporary women in the developing world who are forgotten and overlooked in the context of immense suffering. I have thus become committed to advocating for them; as a scholar and as a fellow human being, 

Program Re-opening Is Beginning

September 24, 2020

Because of supporters like you, I’m happy to report grantees in Burkina Faso, Kenya and Ethiopia are able to resume additional services this month to vulnerable women with childbirth injuries!

Guest Blog: Torn and Stitched

June 26, 2020

After giving birth to her baby boy, Savannah was torn a little further than expected. Her midwife told her she had developed a fistula and used stitches to slow the leaking. Savannah visited a local urogynecologist but had to wait over two months for surgery. It only took a few weeks into post op for the leaking to return. Hopeless and exhausted, she joined a support group and found help through WFF Board Member, Dr. Richter. Savannah is now healed and uses embroidery to spread awareness and support her fistula sisters around the world.

Guest Blog: Rachel’s Journey for Healing

May 20, 2020

Due to extreme bladder injuries sustained during an abdominal hysterectomy, Rachel developed a vesicovaginal fistula tract. Feeling emotionally and physically exhausted, she is still on the road to recovery facing surgery after surgery. Through this journey Rachel has been able to connect with WFF and help provide hope to her fistulas sisters around the world.

We Are Still Providing Vital Services to Women.

May 5, 2020

Through this pandemic, our work has continued. With the help of our remarkable grantees, WFF services have been adapted to ensure the safety of local staff and the women we serve.

Donor Spotlight: Shalise

April 28, 2020

In January 2016, after years of irregular menstrual cycles and secondary infertility, I decided to go to a different doctor for a second opinion. Tests confirmed I had multiple fibroids and needed a partial hysterectomy.

Our Response to COVID-19

April 15, 2020

In this 25th anniversary year for WFF, we expected to celebrate. Certainly, we did NOT expect to postpone our spring events, social distance from supporters like you and confront a global COVID-19 pandemic. None of the current guidance is easy: social distancing, wearing masks and staying at home. Together, we will get through this difficult time.

Guest Blog: Why I Give

December 27, 2019

After accepting her calling of an OBGYN, Megan Flahive traveled to Tanzania to work with a fistula surgeon. She intended on educating women about prevention of unwanted pregnancy, but quickly learned that women believed fertility was their greatest asset. These women needed the resources to have a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery. Megan joined us through One By One in 2010, but her support has continued on through WFF. 

Guest Blog: Message from Philanthropist of the Year

December 6, 2019

In October, Dr. Christopher K. Payne, Chair of WFF’s Board of Directors, was recognized by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) as their 2019 Distinguished Philanthropist.

How One NWP Physician Is Making a Big Difference for Women in Ethiopia

October 1, 2019

The following account, by WFF Board Vice Chair and Northwest Permanente urogynecologist, Rahel Nardos, MD, describes one non-profit partnership that helps Ethiopian women who have a debilitating medical condition.

Solidarity groups save survivor from homelessness

July 30, 2019

Elizabeth is a fistula survivor and member of a solidarity group called Matungu Fistula Survivors of Hope in Kenya. The roof of her house collapsed a few weeks ago, leaving her homeless.

WFF and Mekelle University are Creating Ripples of Change

June 21, 2019

Physical therapy is vital to a woman’s optimal recovery after suffering a childbirth injury such as obstetric fistula. In 2016, Worldwide Fistula Fund invested in providing enhanced master’s degree programming in physical therapy at Mekelle University in Ethiopia.

Donor Spotlight: WFF Receives “Random Acts of Kindness”

April 29, 2019

The rules are simple: host once a year, listen with an open heart, and give what you can. These guidelines build the foundation of a giving circle called Random Acts of Kindness.

Guest Blog: Treating Prolapse in Ethiopia

March 26, 2019

Two women locked in deep conversation like long-lost friends caught my attention in the hospital ward. They were lying on mattresses on the floor of the Hamlin Fistula Center in Mekelle, awaiting care in their hospital gowns.

Guest Blog: How WFF Helped Me Launch Safe Motherhood

February 25, 2019

Sarah Omega is the Executive Director of the Let’s End Fistula Initiative (LEFI) in Kenya. WFF began funding LEFI in 2018 after it merged with Seattle-based fistula nonprofit, One By One.

Guest Blog: I’m lucky to have found WFF

February 19, 2019

I am Dr. Itengré Ouédraogo. You may have heard or seen my name over the past 8 years in connection with Worldwide Fistula Fund. Today I’d like to share my story with you and thank you for helping to make my successes, and those of the women I serve, possible.

Artist Inspired to Help Women with Fistula

January 10, 2019

After reading “Half the Sky,” Caroline, an artist, had to do something.

Guest Blog — A Dream Coming True In Uganda

August 24, 2018

The average Ugandan woman with obstetric fistula suffers for 10 years before receiving treatment. It’s horrific to contemplate and devastating to witness.

Program Updates From the Executive Director

July 30, 2018

It’s an exciting time for us. As we work harder than ever to accomplish our mission to prevent and treat devastating childbirth injuries, I’m reminded that this isn’t just the success of a few.

Photo Story: Highlights From Our Successful Spring

June 18, 2018

You’ve probably been seeing us share news about one of our first success stories out of Burkina Faso, updates about joining forces with One By One and video from our Kenyan program partner’s presentation to our Board of Directors.

Guest Blog — We’re Proud To Join WFF

June 14, 2018

​As the One By One Board Chair, it is my pleasure to share this exciting news with you: we are completing the final steps to join forces with Worldwide Fistula Fund!

3 Programs to Watch In 2018

February 27, 2018

Take a look and stay posted for updates on how these programs grow!

7 Accomplishments in 2017

January 17, 2018

We’d like to send 2017 off with one comprehensive look at all the great achievements this year has witnessed. We couldn’t do it without you.

DFC Called “Best Fistula Facility in Country”

December 21, 2017

This year, Danja Fistula Center (DFC) hosted Niger’s national fistula camp. We provided 61 surgeries to women with fistula through a partnership with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Niger’s National Network for the Eradication of Fistula (REF).

Guest Blog — The New Normal: When Women Advocate For Women

December 11, 2017

Board Member Tracy Spitznagle is a women’s health physical therapy specialist who regularly provides education for our programs in Ethiopia. She trains Africans in advanced physical therapy techniques to enable them to grow their clinical expertise related to maternal health, which is critical to the country’s development. Ethiopia has a severe shortage of health professionals — just 0.7 per 1,000 people. The World Health Organization recommends 2.3 per 1,000.

Guest Blog — Immersed in Africa: How Moving To Niger Shaped a Woman’s Life

December 7, 2017

Newly married and fresh out of graduate school, my husband accepted a position in Niger studying optimal fertilizer applications to improve farming success in the arid terrain of the Sahara. I was amazed to find how quickly the locals accepted us into their community.

Guest Blog — Beyond My Boundaries: PT Takes Trip of a Lifetime to Spread Healing

September 20, 2017

Since physical therapy is vital to a woman’s optimal recovery after suffering an obstetric fistula, in 2017, the Worldwide Fistula Fund invested in providing enhanced master’s degree programming in physical therapy at Mekelle University in Ethiopia.

Guest Blog — Expert Care Key to Successful Surgeries at Danja

July 20, 2017

The women we treat at Danja Fistula Center (DFC Niger) have lost everything and have few options. They are very poor, malnourished, uneducated and unhappy. They come to us seeking hope to change their lives!

Guest Blog — My Investigative Trip to Burkina Faso with Dr. Itengre

April 24, 2017

This was my first trip to Burkina Faso. I visited in late November with Dr. Itengre to investigate Worldwide Fistula Fund possibly developing new programs in Dr. Itengre’s home country. It was an eye-opening and exciting experience.

Guest Blog — From St. Louis to Ethiopia: Empowering Female Physical Therapists

February 27, 2017

Last summer, while teaching at our Urogynecological Fellowship training program in Mekelle, I was approached by the Clinic Director for Physical Therapy at Ayder Referral Hospital. He is one of the five students enrolled in the inaugural Masters of Physical Therapy program at Mekelle University. He needed to recruit expert Physical Therapists (PTs) to teach specific topics. I was honored to be asked and, with a grant from WFF, I have been recruiting for this project.

Guest Blog — My Final Trip to Africa for 2016 and WFF's Bright Future

December 9, 2016

I am packing for my final 2016 trip to visit WFF programs in Uganda and Ethiopia and find myself reflecting on all that we have accomplished together. My heart is full of gratitude in this season of giving.

Guest Blog — Improving Childbirth Safety

August 18, 2016

Dr. Chris Payne is Board Vice Chair for Worldwide Fistula Fund and regularly makes trips to Danja Fistula Center and Mekelle, Ethiopia to provide treatment and training. Dr. Payne co-founded Vista Urology and Pelvic Pain Partners in San Jose, CA where he focuses on incontinence, pelvic pain and pelvic reconstructive surgery.

Guest Blog — Ending Fistula One Week at a Time

May 22, 2016

WFF reached out to One Week to End Fistula Founder, Olivia Bowen, to learn why she joined the movement to end fistula and why she chose to partner with Worldwide Fistula Fund. Her story is the perfect explanation of why May 23rd, International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, is so important.

Guest Blog — My First Trip to Danja

May 5, 2016

Last month, I had the opportunity to visit Danja Fistula Center (DFC Niger) as a member of Worldwide Fistula Fund’s Rehabilitation Advisory Council (RAC). This was my first trip to DFC Niger and it was truly an unforgettable experience.

Guest Blog — Sacrifices for Surgery

February 24, 2016

Our excitement was palpable as we arrived in Mekelle this past January. Composed of nurses, surgical technicians, residents, fellows, anesthesiologists, urogynecologists, biomedical engineers, radiologists, hospital management specialists, intensivists and, philanthropists, we were a truly interdisciplinary team.

Interview with Dr. Tracy Spitznagle

January 28, 2016

“Before a fistula, a woman would walk miles every day to collect firewood or bring back water for cooking and cleaning. With fistula, however, many women are isolated or abandoned.”

Interview with a Fistula Advocate

December 30, 2015

Grace is a volunteer through WFF’s partner TERREWODE in Uganda. In this interview, Grace shares her experience helping women with fistula in her community.

Why I Want to be Worldwide Fistula Fund’s New Executive Director

August 31, 2015

I was named the Executive Director in August and I’m grateful for the confidence that the WFF Board has placed in me.

Guest Blog — How a Male Advocate Helps Prevent Fistula in Uganda Through Music

June 15, 2015

WFF sent photographer-videographer Joni Kabana to Uganda to document the work of our partner, TERREWODE. She had the pleasure of meeting some of their dedicated volunteer-advocates who go into villages to increase fistula awareness and provide prevention education. Joni shares the story of a dedicated male advocate she met in Soroti

Guest Blog — My Good Day at Danja Fistula Center

May 19, 2015

Amagadas Habsou is a Touareg woman from Tahoua, around 350 km from Maradi. She got married when she was 17 years old and got pregnant at the same age. After seven days of labor, she delivered a stillbirth at home and suffered her fistula.

Interview with a Fistula Survivor turned Advocate

April 22, 2015

Ever wonder what it’s like going house-to-house in rural villages, searching for women who need fistula treatment? Betty Awici is a volunteer through WFF’s partner TERREWODE. Betty and her fellow volunteers help to identify those affected with fistula, give them access to quality care, and socially reintegrate them into their communities.

Guest Blog – My Personal Experience: Healing Women in Ethiopia

March 31, 2015

One at a time, the women walked into the operating room with their IV bags in their hands. If they were anxious or afraid, their stoic faces did not show it. Faithfully, each woman leaned her head against one of ours as our anesthesiologist placed a spinal anesthesia that would allow her to have her surgery without pain. It is impossible not to appreciate their vulnerability and be humbled by the level of trust that these women placed in our team.

Local Collaboration to Improve Women’s Health

March 15, 2015

WFF works in Soroti, Uganda, to prevent and treat the devastating childbirth injury obstetric fistula. We welcome IWI’s efforts to improve the safety of childbirth which can help prevent injuries like obstetric fistula.

Guest Blog – Overcoming Patient Fear to Improve Fistula Recovery

February 26, 2015

We medical professionals pore over clinical patient data looking for factors correlating to better recovery outcomes. I think we don’t always give enough attention to one factor that we can’t find in the data: helping the patient overcome their own fear during recovery.

Guest Blog - Occupational Therapy and Obstetric Fistula

January 14, 2014

I am Cambey Mikush, a recent graduate from Washington University in St. Louis with a doctorate in Occupational Therapy. I became aware of the devastation that is inflicted on women with obstetric fistula right before starting my graduate program in 2010. The more I learned, the more it became clear to me that women with obstetric fistula were experiencing a sudden and significant change in their ability to participate in their daily activities.

The Passing of Dr. Leonard A. Wall, MD, 92

January 13, 2014

The Worldwide Fistula Fund is sad to note the passing of Dr. Leonard Wall. Dr. Wall was the father of the WFF’s founder Dr. Lewis Wall and WFF’s current treasurer Dr. Terry Wall. In his memory, WFF has established the Dr. Leonard Wall Memorial Fund. Dr. Leonard Wall was a long time advocate for women around the world and a tireless supporter of the Worldwide Fistula Fund.