News & Updates

Obstetric fistula stories and announcements


11 Sep 2023 News

Against the odds, Malawian girl overcomes child marriage, agonizing labour and obstetric fistula

NKHATA BAY, Malawi – Jacqueline was just 15 when she fell in love with a boy from another village. The two eloped, initiating a customary marriage rather than a formal one. But Jacqueline kept the relationship a secret from her mother, Margaret Kumwenda, who grew worried about her daughter’s increasing distraction and frequent disappearances.

Read More
16 Jun 2023 News

“My life completely changed”: Treating bodies, minds and lives affected by obstetric fistula in Guinea-Bissau

BISSAU, Guinea-Bissau – “I didn't know what obstetric fistula was, let alone that it could be treated,” says 33-year-old mother-of-two Maria. 

Maria’s dream of expanding her family took a tragic turn in 2016. She was in eastern Guinea-Bissau, in Batafa region, when her labour pains began; but after more than 12 hours, she remained unable to deliver.

Read More
26 May 2023 News

Restoring hope, rebuilding lives: A day in the life of a fistula surgeon in Zambia

NORTH-WESTERN PROVINCE, Zambia – Around the world, half a million women and girls are thought to be living with obstetric fistula, a serious childbirth injury that can cause incontinence and result in significant medical and mental health issues. In Zambia, as of 2018, more than 33,000 women and girls had been affected.

Read More
14 Sep 2022 News

Three women, three stories: Picking up the pieces of lives broken by obstetric fistula

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo/KURIGRAM DISTRICT, Bangladesh/KILIFI, Kenya – Pemba was called “ndoki,” or “witch,” by her community, including her father and siblings. Sojina felt like a prisoner in the room she was banished to, forbidden to step outside even to worship. Jamila’s career as an early childhood development teacher came to an end.

Read More
05 Aug 2022 News

Celebrating Hayat an Obstetric Fistula Heroine in Juba

Juba, SUDAN - Soft-spoken, compassionate, and cheerful; Hayat Peter is one of the nurses who is contributing to ending obstetric fistula in Juba,South Sudan. A registered nurse by profession for the last 22 years, she has helped many patients. However, assisting fistula patients to regain their dignity is one of the biggest moments in her career, according to Hayat.

Read More
15 Jul 2022 News

Midwives bring portable ultrasound technology to remote communities in Kenya

MFANGANO ISLAND, Kenya – In her four years at Sena Health Centre, midwife Goretti Adhiambo has seen too many lives lost to complications in pregnancy and childbirth. “We provide all the basic maternal health services at the health centre including antenatal care, but complicated cases have to be referred to the mainland hospital for specialized care,” she explained. 

Read More
23 May 2022 News

International Day to End Obstetric Fistula 2022

It’s easy to ignore things you don’t know anything about. Obstetric fistula is one of those things. But it’s a devastating childbirth injury to women who experience it, usually fatal to unborn babies (90 per cent of cases end in stillbirth) and – here’s the encouraging news – not only treatable but preventable. 

Read More
23 May 2022 News

When is the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula?

When is the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula?

Every year on 23 May, the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula is observed by the international community as a way to rally action, commitment and support to ending obstetric fistula.

Read More
16 May 2022 News

5 things you might not know about obstetric fistula

UNITED NATIONS, New York – First things first, what is obstetric fistula?  

What it is: Obstetric fistula is a traumatic childbirth injury that robs a woman or girl of her health, rights and dignity. It is a hole between the birth canal and bladder that causes uncontrollable urinary incontinence. A hole between the birth canal and rectum causes faeces to leak. 

Read More
03 May 2022 News

5 things to know about motherhood

UNITED NATIONS, New York – Celebrated around the world throughout the year, Mother’s Day is exactly that: celebratory. But for some women, motherhood can be fraught.

Read More