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Obstetric fistula

Campaign to End Obstetric Fistula logoThe RCOG is proud to be an official partner of the UNFPA Campaign to End Obstetric Fistula. This section of the site provides information about fistula, and about our various activities to help support women with this debilitating condition.

What is obstetric fistula?

Obstetric fistula occurs because of complications in childbirth. Millions of women around the world suffer shame, debilitation and life-long pain as a result of obstetric fistula, with up to 100,000 new cases each year. Without access to timely medical intervention (usually a caesarean section), the baby will die and the woman will be left with chronic incontinence.

Life is appalling for women with fistula: they are wet all the time; they smell; they are stigmatised, isolated and rejected by society. But it doesn’t have to be this way – fistula is both treatable and preventable.

International Day to End Obstetric Fistula

Women at Kitovu Fistula Clinic, Uganda

The UNFPA International Day to End Obstetric Fistula takes place on 23 May.

Read our tribute to Dr Catherine Hamlin (1924–2020).

In 2017, the RCOG launched a new film of Mr Marcus Filshie FRCOG as he returned to Uganda and supported an RCOG project to prevent obstetric fistula.

Have a look at other videos from a range of multidisciplinary individuals who express their motivation for working to end fistula.

How to get involved

Join the conversation on Twitter using these hashtags:


Elsewhere on the site

Global health community
Find out about the work of our Fellows, Members and Trainees across the world, and how you can get involved
Support our work
Find out how you can help support the RCOG’s work to tackle maternal mortality and morbidity worldwide