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

Who are our current partners?
Who are our past partners?
How much funding have we granted?

Below are funding totals since the start of each partnership.

Current Partners

  • Bugando Medical Centre – $124,750
  • Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT) – $3,635,085
  • Maternity Africa – $601,395
  • Nkinga Referral Hospital – $50,000

Past Partners

  • Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre – $82,960
  • Association of Obstetric Fistula Surgeons of Tanzania – $200,000
  • Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre / Duke Global Health Institute: $19,150
  • Lake Tanganyika Floating Health Clinic – $50,000
  • Women’s Dignity – $135,000

News from the Field

Meet Leonia from Tanzania  •  April 06, 2021
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Before a traumatic labor left Leonia with obstetric fistula, she enjoyed a happy marriage and earned a living as a tailor. However, due to her constant odor and the heavy...
Before a traumatic labor left Leonia with obstetric fistula, she enjoyed a happy marriage and earned a living as a tailor. However, due to her constant odor and the heavy stigma of her condition, she was unable to continue working, and her marriage became strained. Leonia Johanes lives in the Kagera Region of Tanzania, more than 1,400 kilometers away from Fistula Foundation’s partner hospital. Despite this enormous distance, Leonia was still able to access treatment—thanks to a robust community outreach program that’s made possible by our donors. Before a traumatic labor left Leonia with obstetric fistula, she enjoyed a happy marriage and earned a living as a tailor. However, due to her constant odor and the heavy stigma of her condition, she was unable to continue working, and her marriage became strained. Her incontinence also caused her constant pain. “It burns my thighs; I cannot walk,” she said. Leonia asked her parents for help, and they enlisted a local witch doctor, who charged them high fees and gave Leonia ineffective herbal remedies. She suffered for two years, hiding her condition as best she could. But when the physical and emotional pain became too much, Leonia turned to her friends. Immediately, her friends knew what had happened—Leonia had obstetric fistula! There was a well-known community health worker (CHW) in their area who had been educating the community about the condition. At first, Leonia was hesitant to reach out to the CHW. The hospital that could treat her was on the other side of the country in Dar es Salaam, and traveling such a distance would be expensive. However, thanks to the generosity of donors like you, all of Leonia’s travel costs were covered! After years of suffering, Leonia is finally dry. She received life-changing fistula treatment at CCBRT (Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania), Fistula Foundation’s trusted partner facility. Now that she is healed, Leonia can return to work and her normal life. “I will not suffer again,” she said with confidence. Published 4/6/2021
69 Women Healed in Tanzania!  •  January 28, 2021
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This October, Maternity Africa at Kivulini Medical Centre, Fistula Foundation’s partner in rural northern Tanzania, provided life-transforming surgery to 69 women with fistula—the largest number of women ever treated during...
This October, Maternity Africa at Kivulini Medical Centre, Fistula Foundation’s partner in rural northern Tanzania, provided life-transforming surgery to 69 women with fistula—the largest number of women ever treated during one of their outreach programs. Maternity Africa had originally planned to hold four surgical outreach programs in 2020. However, due to Covid-19 lockdowns, the first three clinics were cancelled, causing a backlog of patients. As a result, 69 women came for treatment in October—over twice as many patients as previous camps.
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.

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