Celebrating 10,000 Fistula Repair Surgeries

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The FIGO Fistula Surgery Training Initiative, a state-of-the-art training system for fistula surgeons and holistic care teams, is celebrating a major milestone in the fight against obstetric fistula: 10,000 fistula repair surgeries.

Obstetric fistula is a neglected public health and human rights issue, but due to a global shortage of trained, skilled fistula surgeons, there is a huge unmet need to treat and repair the backlog cases.

FIGO is committed to closing the global treatment gap.

Gillian Slinger, Senior Project Manager, honoured all who have worked tirelessly to help the FIGO Fistula Surgery Initiative reach this moment.

“10,000 fistula repair surgeries is a huge achievement. Partnerships are central to the success of our game-changing initiative to train many more competent fistula surgeons, and through this collaborative approach, we are reaching substantially more women in need. 10,000 congratulations to our phenomenal FIGO Fellows and Trainers!”

For a woman suffering with obstetric fistula, surgery is a chance to reclaim her life from the incontinence, isolation and immense suffering this devastating childbirth injury causes.

Currently only one in 50 is estimated to have access to fistula treatment, even though the condition affects two million women in 60 low-resource countries.

Longer-term solutions require ongoing prevention efforts through well-functioning maternal health systems, including emergency obstetric care. In parallel, it is absolutely essential that more surgeons are trained in the surgical repair and management of women with obstetric fistula, and more health facilities are able to provide holistic fistula treatment services, including rehabilitation and social assistance.

For FIGO, this is a long-term commitment – one that takes time, partnership and vision.

Explained Dr Andrew Browning, expert fistula surgeon, FIGO Trainer and Chair of the FIGO Committee for Fistula and Genital Trauma, and head of the FIGO Fistula Surgery Training Initiative Expert Advisory Group (EAG),

“Fistula surgery is challenging. The learning curve is very long, and it takes sustained investment into a surgeon to be able to handle any fistula case. That’s what the FIGO Fistula Surgery Training Initiative is doing: investing in our Fellows – as well as their holistic care teams – developing their skills to become good and qualified fistula surgeons.”

As of this year, there are more than 60 surgeons – FIGO Fellows – enrolled on the programme. Coming from some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities, they are committed to improving the quality of life for women suffering from obstetric fistula.

Dr Peter Majinge, FIGO Trainer and head fistula surgeon at CCBRT Hospital in Tanzania, shared his joy:

“Reaching 10,000 repairs with the FIGO Fistula Surgery Training Initiative is personally a great success for me, as both a FIGO Trainer and a CCBRT staff member. But most of all, this programme is helping significantly more women affected by fistula, and this should be widely celebrated.”

Click here to learn more about the FIGO Fistula Surgery Training Initiative, our activities and partners, and the women they are giving a second chance at life.