Division of Benign Surgery – September 2022 update

Division Director: Dr Juan Diego Villegas 


The FIGO Division of Benign Surgery includes the committees on Minimal Access Surgery, Obstetric Fistula, and Urogynaecology and Pelvic Floor Disorders. The Division of Benign Surgery works on the Triple ‘A’ strategy: access, awareness and advocacy.  

This division is actively looking for common activities that provide safe and feasible surgeries for women around the world, and has recently published a FIGO Statement on the disparities in patient access to benign gynaecological surgery. It focuses on decreasing the gap between the need for health care and the level of access for women.   

Committee on Minimal Access Surgery 

Committee Chair: Dr Megan Wasson 

The Committee on Minimal Access Surgery is continuing to work on increasing the number of formal fellowship training programmes around the world. A Memorandum of Understanding between AAGL/FMIGS and FIGO is currently being reviewed to enhance this mission. AAGL/FMIGS continues to grow a formalised international fellowship programme. 


The committee continues to promote increasing minimal access surgery approaches and decreasing laparotomy. A FIGO position paper on strategies and guidelines to promote both of these outcomes in high, middle, and low-income countries is in the final stages of review. 

Webinars and online learning  

The committee will be hosting their webinar in March 2023. 


Several sessions focused on minimal access surgery will take place at the FIGO 2022 Regional Congress in Cartagena, Colombia. These include a breakfast session, "Decreasing surprises and optimising success in minimal access surgery", a keynote lecture on endometriosis, and a breakout session on minimal access surgery tips and tricks. We look forward to a face-to-face committee meeting during the congress. 

Committee on Obstetric Fistula 

Committee Chair: Dr Rachel Pope 

The Committee on Obstetric Fistula underwent a change of leadership with Dr Rachel Pope moving from vice chair to chair in June 2022.  

The committee has reviewed the labour guidelines to implement specific measures to prevent obstetric fistula. It has also participated in ongoing surgical training programs for obstetric fistula repair. 


The committee is working on creating a FIGO Statement on obstetric fistula as a national indicator of maternal morbidity, and is continuing with publication of the Obstetric Fistula Training Manual. 

Webinars and online learning  

The May 2022 webinar on obstructed labour was a collaboration between the Committee on Obstetric Fistula and the Committee on Childbirth and PPH. 

Committee on Urogyneacology and Pelvic Floor Disorders 

Chair: Dr Gabriel Yao-Kumah Ganyaglo 

The committee is focusing on improving educational content. Feedback was received from Dr Brooke Gurland with the aim of recording for the Thinkific platform in September. They are also awaiting feedback from the other leads. 

The committee's second project focuses on improving the urogynae content in OBGYN residency programmes globally. They are in the process of reaching out to FIGO regional trustees for a list of the OBGYN programmes in their respective regions. The OBGYN programme leads will be contacted and an online survey initiated. The list of programmes will inform the proposal for submission to ECAC. 

The committee is actively contributing to discussions with FIGO stakeholders alongside RCOG, regarding factors that might inadvertently be contributing to the disparities of access. The committee will lend support to the ‘say it as it is’ campaign initiative. 


The committee is offering two breakfast sessions, one keynote address and one full track session of four presentations at the regional congress. For Paris 2023, the committee is contributing in advisory capacity.