Fistula Foundation Team Members Attend Global Conference of Fistula Surgeons

The International Society of Obstetric Fistula Surgeons (ISOFS)—the leading international professional body for those engaged in the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of women with obstetric fistula—held its eighth conference last week in Maputo, Mozambique. The theme of the 2022 conference was “Obstetric Fistula an Unacceptable Tragedy. End Now.”

“I’m grateful to the hard-working Focus Fistula team for hosting this productive meeting in the beautiful city of Maputo,” said Lindsey Pollaczek, chief program officer of Fistula Foundation. “While Fistula Foundation is providing more digital opportunities for our partner surgeons to connect, there is no substitute for in-person networking and team-building. It helps us feel connected, valued, and energized by our work, in a way that a digital meeting can’t match.”

The conference, held every two years in a different host country, brings together fistula surgeons, health professionals, researchers, social workers, activists, and global partners who work in the field of obstetric fistula. Participants convene to share the latest research on treating fistula, discuss progress toward achieving global goals, and promote and strengthen partnerships between governments and the private sector. 

This year, Fistula Foundation sent four team members to the conference and sponsored 12 fistula surgeons who represent partner facilities in Tanzania, as well as in countries (the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, and Zambia) that are home to a Fistula Foundation Treatment Network (FFTN).

Fistula Foundation team members from left to right: Lindsey Pollaczek, chief program officer; Habiba C. Mohamed, regional director; Malena Tangu, country coordinator for the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Jesse Chu, program manager.

“Acknowledging and celebrating the dedicated surgeons in our global network is an essential part of the Foundation’s success,” said Pollaczek. “I can’t overstate the importance of creating and nurturing a strong community of practice by supporting surgeons who often work in isolation under very challenging circumstances.”

Fistula Foundation team members and surgeons, representing 21 partners across our global network, gather for lunch during the 2022 International Society of Obstetric Fistula Surgeons conference in Maputo, Mozambique.

Along with learning, networking, and connecting with partners, Pollaczek presented findings from her peer-reviewed research article on the first six years of FFTN in Kenya. In addition, one of Fistula Foundation’s newest team members, Kee Rajagopal, had a poster presentation accepted by the conference. It showcased the success of our global network of partners by highlighting treatment data from 2019 to 2021.

“Attending the ISOFS conference afforded our team members and our partners the opportunity to share best practices, wrestle with complex cases, and discuss lessons learned,” said Pollaczek. “Most importantly, this event helped us feel connected to each other and to our shared vision of helping more women live healthier lives.”  

Published on November 08, 2022.