Issues & Solutions

Obstetric Fistula: Repair and Prevention

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.

In Focus

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.

Global Fistula Hub

Direct Relief, in partnership with The Fistula Foundation and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), developed the Global Fistula Hub, an online resource fostering community connections, data resources, and current research focused on obstetric fistula.

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 sharing evidence-based treatment literature and an open data portal, the community is able to pose questions and come to informed conclusions. The ultimate aim of the Global Fistula Hub is to increase collaboration tied towards obstetric fistula repair and prevention, extending health care services to women in need.

By highlighting areas and facilities requiring medical resources, the Global Fistula Hub aims to end the threat of obstetric fistula for every woman, everywhere.

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