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Giving Tuesday 2021

This year, you can kick off the holiday season
by changing a woman's life.

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Giving Tuesday Is November 30!

Mark your calendar for the biggest day of global giving, Giving Tuesday, happening Tuesday, November 30. This year, Fistula Foundation is focused on providing support to our sisters and partner surgeons in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), often referred to as the “worst place in the world to be a woman.”

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In the Democratic Republic of Congo, You Can Make a Life-Changing Difference

Fistula is prevalent in the DRC, as poor road conditions, violence, political instability, and child marriage threaten women’s access to quality obstetric care. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), only 12 percent of health facilities in the DRC offer basic emergency obstetric and newborn care. Fistula treatment mostly takes place through surgical outreach efforts, where surgical teams set up temporary camps for two week stints with the goal of treating as many women as possible.

The waitlist for treatment is long. Teams must haul in their own equipment when the facilities where they’re operating lack even basic surgical supplies. Partners transport surgical staff and patients to and from medical centers by motorcycle. Sometimes, they work in facilities with no electricity or running water.

To be a fistula surgeon in the DRC takes heroism and boundless compassion. Resilience and dogged resourcefulness. At its core, it takes heart.

Why the Democratic Republic of Congo?

Map of Kinshasha, Democratic Republic of Congo

Political upheaval and violent unrest have taken a heavy toll on DRC’s healthcare infrastructure. There is also a horrifying use of sexual violence in the country. For these reasons and others, DRC has been called “the worst place on earth to be a woman.”

Over half of the Congolese population lives in rural areas, where health resources are spread thin—and in high demand. Even simply getting to the hospital can be close to impossible, with dirt roads that are completely flooded and impassable for months on end.

All of these factors play a role in the DRC’s high incidence of obstetric fistula, and there is consistently more demand for fistula treatment than local hospitals can keep up with. As a result, there is a long backlog of Congolese women waiting for treatment.

Click here to learn more about Fistula Foundation’s work in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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