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Kitovu Health Care Complex

In Uganda, it is estimated that 142,000 women are affected by fistula, leaving them incontinent, ashamed and often isolated from their communities. This page outlines the RCOG’s work to support Kitovu Mission Hospital in Uganda in preventing and treating fistula.

Background - Maternal health in Africa

Maternal mortality is a desperate blight on sub-Saharan Africa where there is a 1 in 40 lifetime risk of maternal death; for developed nations it is only 1 in 3800. This is a major cause of health inequality, also impacting significantly on the life chances of surviving children. For every woman that dies, 20–30 women are left with significant disability including the devastating condition of obstetric fistula. How Uganda compares is shown in the table of maternal mortality rates (MMR) below.

Region MMR Range of MMR:
lower estimate
Range of MMR:
upper estimate
Number of maternal deaths Lifetime risk of maternal death
World 210 170 300 287,000 1 in 180
Developed regions 16 14 18 2200 1 in 3800
Developing regions 240 190 330 284,000 1 in 150
Northern Africa 78 52 120 2800 1 in 470
Sub-Saharan Africa 500 400 750 162,000 1 in 39
Uganda 310 200 500 4700 49

Kitovu Fistula ClinicKitovu Health Care Complex

Kitovu hospital is located within Masaka municipality (population of 74,100); within Masaka district (population of 249,200), Uganda (population of 34 million, 89% of which live in rural areas). The hospital is 130km south of Kampala and 3km from Masaka Town.

The Obstetric Fistula VVF Clinic at Kitovu Mission Hospital was founded and developed by Dr Maura Lynch, an Irish surgeon who has settled in Uganda. Dr Lynch was granted Honorary Fellowship of the RCOG in 2013. Through her vision, the Clinic, which provides a free fistula repair service, undertakes the surgical repair of over 250 women every year through the commitment of visiting international surgeons such as Dr Shane Duffy FRCOG and Dr Andrew Browning MRCOG.

Currently the fistula service comprises 4 camps per year of two weeks duration each, staffed by experienced overseas surgeons, repairing 60-80 fistulae per camp. The table below indicates the general workload, including deliveries, for the last 5 years at Kitovu.

  2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12
OPD attendance 28,547 32,622 40,168 31,523 31,868
Admissions 9003 11,032 16,426 10,974 11,433
Deliveries 1179 1863 2091 2019 2025
Antenatal attendance 1844 1212 1481 1387 1886
Immunisation 9232 11,401 9650 10,605 10,362
Obstetric fistula repair 235 229 280 307 343


Listen to Dr Maura Lynch FRCOG (Hon), Director of Fistula at Kitovu Hospital, Uganda talk about her life-long work in fistula surgery and why she thinks it is important that we all mark International Day to End Obstetric Fistula.

Listen to Dr Nalubega Florence, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Kitovu Hospital talk about her work in fistula and how Kitovu are supporting and caring for women suffering from fistula across the rural Masaka region of Uganda.

RCOG collaboration with Kitovu Health Care Complex

The RCOG is very proud to be collaborating with Kitovu in supporting the excellent work it does in treating and advocating for women to be free from fistula for good. 

Fistula patient and her carer, Mother WinnieMother Winnie (right), who supports and cares for the women during their time at the Kitovu Fistula Clinic, with one of her fistula patients who has been treated and is now dry

Excellence in: Obstetric Skills – Kitovu, Uganda, sponsored by THET

The RCOG has teamed up with Kitovu to design and implement fistula prevention skills transfer for local health workers in the Masaka region. 

RCOG/Laura Case Trust Fellowship

The Laura Case Trust has given us a generous donation towards a volunteering fellowship to support the Kitovu project.

RCOG/Marcus Filshie Fellowship

A generous donation from Mr Marcus Filshie FRCOG is also supporting the monitoring, evaluation and development processes of the Kitovu project.

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