Nigeria

Nigeria carries the world’s highest burden of obstetric fistula. Widespread poverty and terrorism from groups like Boko Haram heighten the challenges women face in accessing maternal care.

Why We Work in Nigeria

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, with over 175 million people. However, it continues to struggle with both poverty and population growth. A 2018 study from the Gates Foundation reported that by 2050, 40 percent of the world’s population living in extreme poverty will come from just two nations: the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nigeria.

Nigeria also carries the burden of other poor health indicators. It has the world’s highest rate of HIV/AIDS-related deaths, and high rates of maternal and infant mortality. Only 43% of births in the country are attended by a skilled medical professional. It is not surprising, then, that Nigeria also has the world’s heaviest burden of obstetric fistula.

Regional conflict, political instability, and increasing poverty (particularly in rural areas) have further hindered access to healthcare in the country, especially for women. With female literacy rates below 50%, women with fistula face many obstacles in learning about their condition and accessing treatment. Urgent intervention is needed to overcome these critical barriers to fistula care in Nigeria.

What You Help Us Do

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

Meet Our Partners

We are currently partnering with Evangel Vesico-Vaginal Fistula Center (EVVF) and Fistula Foundation Nigeria to deliver fistula treatment to women in Nigeria.

What projects are we currently funding?

Evangel Vesico-Vaginal Fistula Center 

Before Fistula Foundation began its partnership with Evangel Vesico-Vaginal Fistula Center (EVVF) in 2015, EVVF had the medical capacity to perform fistula repair surgery but lacked the resources to provide this care for free.  With Fistula Foundation funding, EVVF is now able to perform surgeries at no cost to patients. EVVF is now a major referral center for care facilities in the region who lack the capacity to handle complex and recurrent cases of fistula.

Fistula Foundation Nigeria, Kano

Fistula Foundation Nigeria (FFN) specializes in helping women who have undergone one or more unsuccessful fistula surgeries. Most of these women have highly complex fistulas that have been deemed ‘incurable’; they have often been abandoned by their communities.

Who are our past partners?

Family Life Center Fistula Hospital, Mbribit Itam 

The Family Life Center Fistula Hospital is run by Dr. Mary Molloy, an Irish missionary doctor who has devoted her life to helping women, particularly those suffering from fistula. In 2010, we funded a project at the hospital that supported treatment for 167 women and allowed for the purchase of basic equipment for the facility. A significant part of the project focused on community outreach and transportation, as lack of awareness and the cost of transportation to and from the center were identified as major barriers to treatment.

University College Hospital, Ibadan

As a FIGO (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics) accredited surgeon training site, University College Hospital in Ibadan is a hub for fistula treatment and training. Our funding enabled upgrades to their equipment for fistula treatment, including a refurbished operating table, LED operating lamp with battery backup, a diathermy machine and assorted other items that will help surgeons continue to deliver high quality treatment.

Nigeria National Fistula Program, Katsina

The Nigeria National Fistula Program is one of the largest fistula repair and surgeon training projects in the world, covering nine sites in Nigeria and four in neighboring Niger. Altogether, this accounts for over 600 beds in 13 facilities that perform approximately 2,500 fistula repair surgeries a year. The program’s lead surgeon, Dr. Kees Waaldijk, has performed over 20,000 fistula surgeries during the last 28 years and is considered one of the most experienced fistula surgeons in the world. Although the program is largely government funded, current streams of funding are not sufficient to ensure the continued, uninterrupted availability of fistula surgery throughout each of the 13 sites. Therefore, supplemental funding from Fistula Foundation is utilized to ensure the constant availability of high-quality surgery throughout the country and also supports the training of new surgeons.

Laure Fistula Center, Kano

Laure Fistula Center was established in 1987 and performs over 500 fistula repair surgeries a year, including many referrals from throughout Nigeria as well as neighboring countries. They were recently accredited by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) as an official fistula surgery training site; however, much of their equipment had been in use since its inception and was therefore not in optimal condition. Funding from Fistula Foundation allowed the center to purchase much-needed new equipment and medical supplies in order to provide the highest quality of patient care and surgeon training possible.

Babbar Ruga National Obstetric Fistula Center, Katsina

Similarly, the Babbar Ruga National Obstetric Fistula Center is a key fistula repair and referral site in Nigeria that had been operating for several years with outdated equipment. Funding from Fistula Foundation recently allowed them to purchase new medical supplies and equipment such as a new operating room table, surgical instruments and lighting.

How much funding have we granted?

Evangel Vesico-Vaginal Fistula Center

  • Pending grant for FY2019
  • $375,000 in FY2018
  • $365,000 in FY2017
  • $365,000 in FY2016
  • $250,000 in FY2014
  • $242,000 in FY2013
  • $100,000 in FY2012
  • $49,950 in FY2011

Fistula Foundation Nigeria

  • $25,000 in FY2019
  • $25,000 in FY2018
  • $25,000 in FY2017
  • $25,000 in FY2016
  • $25,000 in FY2015
  • $23,800 in FY2013

Family Life Center Fistula Hospital

  • $24,600 in FY2010

University College Hospital, Ibadan

  • $88,017 in FY2015

Nigeria National Fistula Program

  • $38,994 in FY2019
  • $200,000 in FY2015
  • $200,000 in FY2014
  • $200,000 in FY2013
  • $200,000 in FY2012

Laure Fistula Center

  • $33,903 in FY2014

Babbar Ruga National Obstetric Fistula Center

  • $72,770 in FY2014

Mariya Sanusi Maternal Hospital

  • $59,193 in FY2015

Usmanu Danfodiyo Teaching Hospital, Sokoto

  • $37,810 in FY2015

News from the Field

Out of the Margins #3 - Strength in the ashes  •  February 15, 2018
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Hasana* lost everything when Boko Haram destroyed her village. But she survived—and is making a life for herself amidst the ashes. The attack was horrific. Boko Haram militants tore through...
Hasana* lost everything when Boko Haram destroyed her village. But she survived—and is making a life for herself amidst the ashes. The attack was horrific. Boko Haram militants tore through Hasana’s village, killing and raping her family and neighbors. When help arrived, the militants set her village on fire. Nothing remained but ashes. Miraculously, Hasana survived. Rescuers rushed her to a nearby hospital—she had been brutally raped and battered.
Last Hope: The Doctor Who Fixes ‘Inoperable’ Fistulas in Nigeria  •  December 20, 2017
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Dr. Sunday Lengmang is considered one of the world’s leading fistula surgeons. He is the only doctor in Nigeria that performs urinary diversions—surgeries for women whose fistulas are so severe,...
Dr. Sunday Lengmang is considered one of the world’s leading fistula surgeons. He is the only doctor in Nigeria that performs urinary diversions—surgeries for women whose fistulas are so severe, they would otherwise be considered “incurable. Fistula Foundation is proud to support Dr. Lengmang’s work at Evangel Vesico-Vaginal Fistula Center in Jos, Nigeria—the nation bearing the largest fistula burden in the world.
Meet Aidah From Nigeria  •  July 23, 2015
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72 year old Aidah lived with obstetric fistula for an astounding 41 years before accessing treatment at Evangel Vesico-Vaginal Fistula Center in Jos. Her family stuck by her side the...
72 year old Aidah lived with obstetric fistula for an astounding 41 years before accessing treatment at Evangel Vesico-Vaginal Fistula Center in Jos. Her family stuck by her side the entire time, and recounted to hospital staff how fistula severely limited her (and their) opportunities and success in life.

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