Obstetric Fistula Repair and Prevention

Fistula Patients, Direct Relief, Kenya

What is Obstetric Fistula?

Obstetric fistula is a hole in the birth canal that is caused by prolonged and obstructed labor. If untreated, a woman with obstetric fistula will experience constant and uncontrollable leakage of urine or feces. In addition to physical injuries, many women with fistula suffer humiliation, isolation, and stigma as a result of the smell and constant leakage. And in most cases of obstructed labor in which a fistula develops, the baby is stillborn.

An estimated 2 million women and girls in the developing world are living with obstetric fistula, and more than 50,000 new cases develop each year, far surpassing the global capacity for treatment. But slowly, availability of treatment is expanding as more doctors are becoming trained to provide fistula repair surgery and more women with fistula are identified and referred to treatment. At the same time, efforts to improve the coverage of skilled providers at birth and increase access to emergency obstetric care to manage complications are helping prevent new cases of fistula.

Helping End Obstetric Fistula

Fistula Repair Modules:

Without access to quality medical and surgical supplies, health providers are unable to care for women living with fistula. To effectively equip health providers providing this specialized care, Direct Relief offers a Fistula Repair Module, a standardized pack of high-quality medicines and surgical supplies necessary for fistula repair surgery and post-operative care. The modules contain antibiotics, analgesics, and anesthetics, as well as surgical blades, catheters, and sutures.

Direct Relief created the Fistula Repair Module in close consultation with leading surgical experts. With support from health care companies, many of the items contained in the modules are donated. To deliver a more comprehensive package of materials, Direct Relief purchases additional supplies as needed.

Direct Relief provides the modules free-of-charge to qualified health facilities providing fistula care services. To date, Direct Relief’s Fistula Repair Modules have enabled more than 60,000 life restoring surgeries.*

  • To apply for a Fistula Repair Module, click here.
Global Fistula Map: The largest source of information on fistula treatment capacity worldwide


Direct Relief, in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and The Fistula Foundation, developed the Global Fistula Map—the first-ever map of treatment for this devastating childbirth injury. By mapping the landscape of Fistula repair services, organizations can better understand a given region’s fistula treatment capacity; more effectively target scarce resources; and identify gaps in available services.

By informing which areas and facilities require medical resources, the Global Fistula Map serves a critical function in Direct Relief’s work to extend health care services to women in need.

Partners in Providing Fistula Repair Surgery

Direct Relief works with an incredible fistula repair network comprised of more than 250 facilities in 45 countries across Africa and Asia.

Hospital & Clinic Partners

  • Centro Evangelico de Medicina do Lubango, Angola
  • Danja Fistula Center, Niger
  • HOPE Hospital, Bangladesh
  • National Center for Obstetric Fistula Referral, Niger
  • Saint Jean de Dieu Hospital, Benin
  • Evangel VVF Center, Nigeria
  • National Center for Reproductive Health & Fistula at N’Djamena, Chad
  • Koohi Goth Hospital, Pakistan
  • Jason Sendwe Provincial Referal Hospital, Dem. Rep. of Congo
  • Murshid Hospital & Health Care Centre, Pakistan
  • Saint Joseph Hospital, Dem. Rep. of Congo
  • University Teaching Hospital of Kigali, Rwanda
  • St. Luc Hospital, Dem. Rep. of Congo
  • Benadir Hospital, Somalia
  • Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, Ethiopia
  • Galkayo Medical Center, Somalia
  • Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Ghana
  • Edna Adan University Hospital, Somaliland
  • Gynocare Fistula Center, Kenya
  • National Borama Fistula Hospital, Somaliland
  • Jamaa Mission Hospital, Kenya
  • Bugando Medical Centre, Tanzania
  • Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching & Referral Hospital, Kenya
  • Mercy ships, Tanzania
  • Matata Nursing & Maternity Hospital, Kenya
  • Peramiho Mission Hospital, Tanzania
  • JFK Medical Center, Liberia
  • Peramiho Mission Hospital, Tanzania
  • UNFPA, Madagascar
  • Selian Lutheran Mission Hospital, Tanzania
  • Bwaila Maternity Hospital, Malawi
  • Bwaila Maternity Hospital, Uganda
  • Child Legacy International, Malawi
  • Hoima Regional Referral Hospital, Uganda
  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Malawi
  • Mbale Regional Referral Hospital, Uganda
  • UNFPA, Malawi
  • Mulago National Referral & Teaching Hospital, Uganda
  • Centre Hospitalier du Point G, Mali
  • Soroti Regional Referral Hospital, Uganda
  • B.P.Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Nepal
  • Chilonga General Mission Hospital, Zambia
  • Health Concern Trust, Nepal
  • Kabwe General Hospital, Zambia
  • Kathmandu Model Hospital, Nepal
  • Monze Mission Hospital, Zambia
  • Mid Western Regional Hospital, Nepal
  • Saint Francis Mission Hospital, Zambia

Foundation and Nonprofit Partners

  • EngenderHealth
  • One By One
  • Fistula Foundation
  • Operation Fistula
  • Freedom From Fistula Foundation
  • WAHA International
  • The Green Park Foundation
  • Worldwide Fistula Fund

Corporate Supporters

  • Ansell
  • Ethicon
  • Baxter
  • Henry Schein
  • BD
  • Hospira
  • Covidien
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • CR Bard
  • Merck


Latest Updates

*The Global Fistula Map features regularly updated surgery and partner figures.


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