Who We Are
In the late 1970s while conducting anthropological field research, Lewis Wall witnessed how inadequate healthcare systems in sub-Saharan Africa had devastating effects on women and children. He returned to medical school to become an OB-GYN and dedicated his life to addressing the maternal health challenges faced by women in Africa, focused on childbirth injuries.
Dr. Lewis Wall founded the not-for-profit Worldwide Fund for Mothers Injured in Childbirth in 1995. We relaunched in 2003 as the Worldwide Fistula Fund (WFF). We have historically focused on programs addressing obstetric fistula in sub-Saharan Africa: prevention education, expert surgical services with comprehensive care for recovery and reintegration/empowerment training to begin life anew.
View Our 2018 Timeline
View Our 2017 Timeline
View Our Historical Timeline
WFF began by funding multiple programs and training doctors across sub-Saharan Africa to provide quality fistula repair surgeries. Providers we supported: Evangel VVF Centre in Nigeria, Aberdeen Clinic and Fistula Center in Sierra Leone, Mercy Maternity and Fistula Center in Ghana and MercyShips. Countries where we provided surgical training: Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo and Benin.
During these early years, we simultaneously raised capital funds to build a new, desperately needed model fistula hospital for west Africa. In 2009, 2010 and 2013, Pulitzer prize winning columnist, Nicholas Kristof, wrote New York Times articles about WFF’s mission and goal to build this hospital.
2012 – Present
In 2012, we opened Danja Fistula Center in Niger with our operational partner, SIM. WFF currently has active programs in Niger, Uganda, and Ethiopia delivering fistula treatment, reintegration & empowerment programs and medical professional & health advocate training.
Guiding our mission and strategic plan is a Leadership Team which includes a Trustee of the International Continence Society, Clinicians in Obstetrics and Urogynecology, Professors in Global Health, Medical Anthropology and Physical Therapy, Experts in health delivery to increase access to care and Captains of industry.
- 2018 – WFF joins forces with Seattle-based fistula organization, One By One, expands to Kenya
- 2018 – Critical care training launches in Ethiopia to support complex surgeries/deliveries
- 2017 – Danja Fistula Center, Niger hosts national fistula camp and called “best fistula facility in the country”
- 2017 – TERREWODE, WFF’s longtime partner in Uganda, awarded 5-year, $675,000 grant to help triple the number of women who are treated there
- 2017 – Holistic services launch in Burkina Faso with free surgery and empowerment training
- 2016 – opened Gestational Trophoblastic Disease Center at Mekelle University’s Ayder Referral Hospital in Ethiopia
- 2016 – launched Ethiopia’s first Urogynecology Fellowship Program at Mekelle University with partners
- 2014 – Danja Fistula Center completed 500th fistula surgery
- 2014 – Founder awarded Fulbright Scholarship to expand WFF’s medical education collaboration and women’s health research in Ethiopia
- 2013 – facilitated Danja Fistula Center surgeon achieving “expert fistula surgeon” status with FIGO
- 2013 – established Rehabilitation Advisory Council for optimal fistula recovery through integrated therapy programs
- 2013 – launched Mekelle Medical Education Collaboration (MMEC) in partnership with Mekelle University, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia
- 2013 – opened Women’s Center in Uganda to provide fistula survivors literacy education and vocational skills with partner, TERREWODE
- 2012 – opened Danja Fistula Center in Niger with our operational partner, SIM
- 2010 – supported multi-national fistula research in sub-Saharan Africa and new program development in Uganda