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Tanzania

Women in rural Tanzania have limited access to adequate healthcare and remain at risk of developing fistula in childbirth.

Why We Work in Tanzania

Maternal health indicators have been improving in Tanzania, but there is still a long way to go. In cities, nearly all women deliver in hospitals—but over 70% of the Tanzanian population lives in rural areas, where health care remains difficult to access.

In Tanzania women with fistula suffer for eight years on average before finding help. During that time, they experience significant emotional trauma—too often, fistula survivors are shunned by their communities and abandoned by their husbands. Due to the isolating nature of fistula, many Tanzanian survivors do not know that their condition is treatable, and blame themselves for their misfortune or believe that they are cursed. 

What You Help Us Do

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

Meet Our Partners

We are currently partnering with Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT), Maternity Africa, and Bugando Hospital to deliver fistula treatment to women in Tanzania.

What projects are we currently funding?

CCBRT

Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT) is the largest indigenous provider of disability and rehabilitation services in Tanzania and accounts for approximately one-third of all fistula surgeries performed annually in the country. It is one of the few facilities in Tanzania able to provide comprehensive, high-quality fistula services on a routine basis.

Mabinti Centre

Fistula Foundation funds the Mabinti Centre, a yearlong, residential mentoring program that helps fistula survivors cope with emotional trauma after they are physically healed. At the Mabinti Centre, women have access to support group, psychological counseling and job training.

Maternity Africa

Based in Arusha, Maternity Africa conducts outreach in rural areas to dispel myths about obstetric fistula and raise awareness. In addition to community meetings and radio ads, funding from Fistula Foundation will support the referral of patients to Arusha or nearby Dodoma for treatment, as well as educating communities during outreach efforts.

Bugando Medical Centre

Situated along the shores of Lake Victoria, Bugando Medical Centre (BMC) is a university teaching hospital for the western zones of the United Republic of Tanzania. It serves a population across eight regions, and receives about 300,000 patients each year.

Who are our past partners?

Arusha Lutheran Medical Center

Arusha Lutheran Medical Center performs fistula surgeries and conducts outreach in northern Tanzania. We fund outreach activities and transport for Dr. Andrew Browning, the center’s main fistula surgeon and an international fistula expert, to conduct mobile fistula repair clinics in the region as well as neighboring countries.

Association of Obstetric Fistula Surgeons of Tanzania

The Association of Obstetric Fistula Surgeons of Tanzania (AOFST) conducts mobile fistula clinics throughout the country to provide free fistula repair surgeries to women in remote areas. Through our most recent grant, funding from Fistula Foundation will support the surgical costs of 100 fistula patients, training for four doctors and eight health care workers, and the purchase of new operating equipment. In 2015, 41 additional surgeries were completed, and 2 treatment camps of two weeks each were conducted. Community sensitization to identify and mobilize patients was done in the Katavi and Ruvuma regions.

Women’s Dignity 

Women’s Dignity spearheaded the establishment of the Tanzania National Fistula Program (NFP), an umbrella group of organizations and national ministries in Tanzania working to address fistula. Thanks to their strong partnerships and with support from Fistula Foundation, Women’s Dignity was able to conduct a fistula prevalence survey throughout the country as well as outreach and sensitization campaigns in rural communities.

Lake Tanganyika Floating Clinic

Lake Tanganyika is an important ecological zone – it is the longest and second deepest lake in the world, holding a staggering 18 percent of the globe’s freshwater supply. Surrounded by mountain ranges and conflict zones, the Lake Tanganyika Basin is home to more than ten million people yet is one of the most inaccessible places on earth due to difficult geographical, political and socio-economic circumstances. The Lake Tanganyika Floating Clinic provides much-needed medical care and maternal health services to people in the region. In 2011, we funded a project to upgrade Kirando Health Center in Nkasi District, perform 44 surgeries, and conduct outreach about fistula and the importance of pre- and post-natal care.

Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre 

We provide grant support to Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre  (KCMC) through Duke Global Health Institute. Duke Global Health Institute is spearheading an extensive outreach campaign in northern Tanzania in conjunction with Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) and two of our established Tanzanian partners, Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre and CCBRT. Through the most recent phase of this project, three 2-week outreach trips will take place over the next six months to educate communities about fistula, identify new patients, and refer those patients to treatment. Local contacts will also be trained as ‘ambassadors’ in their communities to help continue referring patients for treatment following the conclusion of the project. It is hoped that 40 women will be identified and referred to free surgical care through this grant.

How much funding have we granted?

CCBRT

  • $425,000 in FY2018
  • $600,000 in FY2017
  • $208,965 in FY2016
  • $143,020 in FY2015
  • $85,000 in FY2014
  • $106,500 in FY2013
  • $43,840 in FY2012

Maternity Africa

  • $148,260 in FY2018
  • $127,077 in FY2016
  • $9,300 in FY2015
  • $20,000 in FY2014

Bugando Medical Centre

  • $52,000 in FY2018

Arusha Lutheran Medical Center

  • $10,000 in FY2015
  • $10,000 in FY2014
  • $20,000 in FY2013
  • $5,000 in FY2012
  • $17,425 in FY2011

Association of Obstetric Fistula Surgeons in Tanzania

  • $50,000 in FY2015
  • $50,000 in FY2014
  • $50,000 in FY2013
  • $50,000 in FY2012

Women’s Dignity

  • $10,000 in FY2012
  • $125,000 in FY2011

Lake Tanganyika Floating Clinic

  • $50,000 in FY2011

KCMC

  • $9,900 in FY2015
  • $9,250 in FY2014

News from the Field

Meet Nanyoor from Tanzania  •  April 18, 2018
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Nanyoor experienced a terrible obstructed labor when she was only 16 years old. She is a member of the Maasai tribe in northern Tanzania, and her remote community is miles...
Nanyoor experienced a terrible obstructed labor when she was only 16 years old. She is a member of the Maasai tribe in northern Tanzania, and her remote community is miles away from any major healthcare facility. When Nanyoor’s labor continued into a third day, her family took her to the nearest town on foot. The doctors there were unable to help her.
Your Donations at Work - The Mabinti Centre  •  April 17, 2018
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Thankfully, a woman with obstetric fistula can be physically healed through life-transforming surgery. However, for many survivors, complete recovery goes beyond the physical—emotional and psychological damage can haunt her long...
Thankfully, a woman with obstetric fistula can be physically healed through life-transforming surgery. However, for many survivors, complete recovery goes beyond the physical—emotional and psychological damage can haunt her long after her body has healed. Fistula Foundation’s partners in Africa and Asia are dedicated to providing holistic care for their patients. Many offer comprehensive counseling and job skills training to women after they are discharged from the hospital.
Meet Naomi From Tanzania  •  July 07, 2015
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Naomi arrived at Tanga Health Center in northeastern Tanzania as a glowing 24 year old expectant mother and businesswoman with a supportive family and a bright future. She returned home...
Naomi arrived at Tanga Health Center in northeastern Tanzania as a glowing 24 year old expectant mother and businesswoman with a supportive family and a bright future. She returned home with a healthy baby, but also a devastating condition that threatened to diminish that future - obstetric fistula. Despite a traumatic 12 hour delivery, Naomi’s baby survived. The baby was too big to fit through her pelvis and in a breech position that made the delivery even more difficult

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