What is 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 and/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 coverage of skilled providers at birth and increase access to emergency obstetric care to manage complications are helping prevent new cases of fistula.
How Direct Relief is Helping
Fistula Repair Modules
Delivering Essential Medical and Surgical Supplies to Enable Life-Restoring Fistula Repair Surgery
Without access to quality medical and surgical supplies, health providers are unable to deliver life-restoring care to women living with fistula. With support from leading healthcare industry partners, Direct Relief provides critical supplies necessary for fistula repair surgery and post-operative care. Direct Relief’s Fistula Repair Module includes essential medicines and surgical supplies and is provided at no cost to facilities providing fistula repair surgery worldwide.
To apply for a Fistula Repair Module for your health facility, click here.
To learn more about Direct Relief’s network of partners providing fistula repair surgery, 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 worldwide map of treatment for this devastating childbirth injury—to help better understand the current fistula treatment capacity; more effectively target scarce resources to where they are needed most; and identify where gaps in service may exist. For Direct Relief, the Global Fistula Map enables the organization to know where fistula surgery is available, allowing us to increase our support of medical surgical supplies to those treatment facilities, a critical component in helping sustain and expand their ability to provide care to women in need.
Read our blog to learn more about the life-restoring fistula repair surgery supported by Direct Relief.