Madagascar

High teenage pregnancy rates—paired with grinding poverty—suggest that fistula will be a serious issue in Madagascar for years to come.

Why We Work in Madagascar

The island of Madagascar is home to some of the most diverse plant and animal life in the world. But its people face extreme poverty—three-quarters of the population live on less than $1.25 per day. In a country of over 24 million people, where there are not enough doctors to meet the demand for basic maternal health care, childbirth can be a life or death matter.  

Only 44.3% of births are attended by a skilled professional. This—combined with the country’s high fertility and teenage pregnancy rates—suggests that obstetric fistula is likely prevalent. 

Tragically, many Malagasy women who develop fistula are hesitant to seek treatment even if it is available, due to a common belief that surgeons only operate to steal a patient’s kidney or other body part. Additionally, Madagascar’s infrastructure is poor, making rural patients’ travel to the hospital both difficult and costly. As a result, women often suffer for years with obstetric fistula, in isolation and shame.

What You Help Us Do

We are investing in the following areas to build Madagascar’s in-country medical services and provide life-transforming surgery to as many women as possible:

Meet Our Partners

We identify local surgical teams in Madagascar already successfully treating women with fistula—and then work to amplify their efforts. 

Who are our current partners?
  • SALFA
    • Location: Vangaindrano, Morondava, Antanimalandy, Ivory Atsimo, Ankaramalaza, Toliara, Ejeda, Manambaro, and Antsampanimahazo
    • Partner Since: 2016
Who are our past partners?
How much funding have we granted?

Below are funding totals since the start of each partnership.

Current Partners

  • SALFA: $2,186,553

Past Partners

  • Freedom from Fistula Foundation: $179,473
  • Hopitaly Vaovao Mahafaly: $11,000

Latest Updates from the Field

Meet Francine from Madagascar  •  December 13, 2017
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She became pregnant with her first child around age 17. Things did not go as planned, and Francine found herself in labor for three days. Finally, she was taken to...
She became pregnant with her first child around age 17. Things did not go as planned, and Francine found herself in labor for three days. Finally, she was taken to a hospital where her baby was delivered via C-section. As a result of her prolonged obstructed labor, Francine had developed an obstetric fistula.
Field Notes: On the road in Madagascar  •  April 19, 2017
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I’m going to introduce you to Vavizely in a second. I warn you, her story is fairly difficult to imagine and a little hard to take. I met Vavizely at...
I’m going to introduce you to Vavizely in a second. I warn you, her story is fairly difficult to imagine and a little hard to take. I met Vavizely at Freedom from Fistula’s surgical center in Toamasina, Madagascar. Toamasina is a compact, neat, prosperous coastal town, the commercial capital and main port of Madagascar, and is blessed with a decent medical system.
Photo Gallery: Changing Lives in Madagascar  •  January 23, 2017
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Despite being known for its rich biodiversity, Madagascar’s people face extreme poverty three quarters of the population live on less than $1.25 per day. Fertility rates are high, and child...
Despite being known for its rich biodiversity, Madagascar’s people face extreme poverty three quarters of the population live on less than $1.25 per day. Fertility rates are high, and child marriage is prevalent in poor, rural areas. Many women lack access to skilled health care providers during delivery, significantly increasing the risk of childbirth complications like fistula.

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