Obstetric fistula is a neglected public health and human rights issue. It occurs almost exclusively in low-resource regions, resulting in permanent urinary and/or fecal incontinence. Although the exact prevalence remains unknown, it starkly outweighs the limited pool of skilled fistula surgeons needed to repair this childbirth injury. Several global movements have, however, enabled the international community to make major strides in recent decades. FIGO's Fistula Surgery Training Initiative, launched in 2012, has made significant gains in building the capacity of local fistula surgeons to steadily close the fistula treatment gap. Training and education are delivered via FIGO and partners' Global Competency-based Fistula Surgery Training Manual and tailored toward the needs and skill level of each trainee surgeon (FIGO Fellow). There are currently 62 Fellows from 22 fistula-affected countries on the training program, who have collectively performed over 10 000 surgical repairs. The initiative also contributes to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (1, 3, 5, 8, 10, and 17). The UN's ambitious target to end fistula by 2030 will be unobtainable unless sufficient resources are mobilized and affected countries are empowered to develop their own sustainable eradication plans, including access to safe delivery and emergency obstetric services.
International journal of gynaecology and obstetrics: the official organ of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics. 2020 Jan [Epub]
Gillian Slinger, Lilli Trautvetter
Fistula Surgery Training Initiative, FIGO (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics), London, UK.