Submitted by Mary Ellen Stanton
USAID-supported fistula services in Nigeria began in 2007. USAID’s Fistula Care project works with six hospitals to prevent and repair fistula and/or to train health professionals about fistula case management,
Obstetric fistula is the result of prolonged labor without prompt medical intervention, causing a hole in a woman’s birth canal which leaves her with chronic incontinence and in many cases, the loss of the baby.
Thirty-two-year-old Joy Emmanuel lived with fistula for half of her life. Long after giving up hope of a remedy, she heard on the radio that women could receive fistula surgery at the Faridat Yakubu Fistula Center, in Gusau, Nigeria. Emmanuel’s baby survived, but she was left with the serious medical condition. Women with Fistula are stigmatized among their peers and by society in general.USAID is supporting increased access to quality family planning and reproductive health services. Maternal and child health efforts focus on birth preparedness, maternity services, and obstetric fistula repairs.
The Nigerian National Strategic Framework for fistula prevention and control estimates that between 400,000 and 800,000 women are affected. Nearly half of worldwide fistula cases occur in Nigeria, with between 50,000 to 100,000 new cases each year. USAID is working to address the challenge of obstetric fistula in five states in northwestern Nigeria. During the project’s first three years 2,822 women received fistula repair surgery.