What is fistula?

“My condition caused a great strain on my marriage. I was too ashamed to tell him of my problem as I had never heard of anyone suffering from my condition and so I suffered silently.”

Sarah, age 33


What is fistula?

An obstetric fistula occurs during an obstructed labour when emergency care is unavailable.

Women suffering from obstructed labour often struggle until the baby dies.  During this agonising process loss of circulation causes tissue to die, leaving large gaps between the birth canal and bladder or rectum, causing incontinence.

Most women and girls suffering with obstetric fistula are ostracised by their families and communities as they smell and are constantly wet, leaving them to live as outcasts.

Fistula is all but eradicated in the developed world.

In contrast, it occurs to thousands of women and girls in Africa every day and they have no-one to help.


These women deserve to be more than statistics, they deserve decent healthcare when they bring their children into the world.