Fistula Foundation is dedicated to ending the suffering caused by the childbirth injury of obstetric fistula. They believe that no woman should have to suffer a life of shame and isolation for trying to bring a child into the world.


Obstetric fistula is a devastating injury caused by difficult childbirth that renders the woman incontinent and can only be cured with surgery. It affects the poorest women in the poorest parts of the developing world - women often find it difficult to reintegrate into their communities, including facing ostracism by their families. Fistula Foundation has funded more than 19,300 surgeries in the last six years - more than any other organization in the world that does not receive government money.  

(Source: https://www.thelifeyoucansave.org/Where-to-Donate/Fistula-Foundation)

Founded in:




Impact Area: 


Where they work:


Angola | Benin | Burundi | Cameroon | Chad | DR Congo | Ethiopia | Guinea | Guinea | Bissau | Kenya | Liberia | Madagascar | Malawi | Mauritania | Mozambique | Niger | Nigeria | Rwanda | Senegal | Somalia | Somaliland | South Sudan | Sudan | Tanzania | Uganda | Zambia | Zimbabwe


Afghanistan | Bangladesh | Nepal | Pakistan

What do they do? 

Fistulata Foundation is focused on treating obstetric fistula, through providing free and safe obstetric fistula repair surgery. 

The elements of successful fistula treatment encompass: 

  • the patients, 
  • having trained surgeons and
  • properly equipped facilities. 

They provide partners in the field with human and financial resources that enable as many women as possible to receive the treatment they need. They work closely with their in-country hospitals and doctors to support targeted solutions that meet local needs. 

Fistula Foundation issues grants on an invitation-only basis, which helps to ensure that their funding goes specifically to treatment at facilities that are known, trusted and have access to qualified fistula surgeons who can provide the best care possible to women. Their partners are carefully vetted and every site they fund is coordinated and staffed by local nurses, doctors and care workers who understand the community and understand how to provide the best care possible to the women they treat. 



About obstetric fistula

A fistula is a hole. 

An obstetric fistula is a hole between the vagina and rectum or bladder that is caused by prolonged obstructed labor, leaving a woman incontinent of urine or feces or both.


For women with obstructed labor, labor that goes unattended, the labor can last up to six or seven days. The labor produces contractions that push the baby’s head against the mother’s pelvic bone. The soft tissues between the baby’s head and the pelvic bone are compressed and do not receive adequate blood flow. The lack of blood flow causes this delicate tissue to die, and where it dies holes are created between the laboring mother’s bladder and vagina and/or between the rectum and vagina. This is what produces incontinence in a fistula patient.

Why are they recommended? 

Fistula Foundation is recommended by The Life You Can Save. 


A life-changing fistula surgery costs roughly $586. This is less than the cost of one night’s stay in most United States hospitals and far less than the DALY cost for many other poverty interventions.

High success rate

Reports from recipients of Fistula Foundation’s funds, backed up by meta-analyses, point to a success rate of around 86 percent.

Careful vetting

The Foundation rigorously reviews all potential partners, including local doctors and award-winning fistula surgeons and healthcare innovators. Grant recipients must provide regular, detailed reports, and field visits ensure that money is well spent.

Impact of your donation

The Foundation is committed to moving donor dollars quickly and cost-effectively to partner organizations in the field, which means that this money goes directly to help women in need. More than 85 percent of the organization’s financial expenditure goes directly to program costs and support.

Fistula Foundation also increases access to treatment by funding training for local health workers, nurses and fistula surgeons. It runs surgical training courses in partnership with the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics.