Why Do We Work in Sudan?

Since independence, Sudan has been scarred by civil wars, political turmoil and a huge refugee crisis. Against such a backdrop, it is difficult for government, economy and healthcare infrastructure to function effectively. Such system failure is at the root of obstetric fistula. Instability and a lack of basic services means women have less access to emergency obstetric care, resulting in a high rate of maternal mortality in the country and high risk of developing a fistula. Hospitals struggle to address the ever-growing backlog of untreated patients, let alone treat the new cases that occur each year.

What You Help Us Do In Sudan

We’re helping fund:

  • Fistula surgeries
  • Surgeon training
  • Equipment
  • Community outreach


Dr. Abbo Khartoum Teaching Hospital Fistula Center, Khartoum
Kassala Hospital, Kassala
Nyala Hospital, Nyala

How much funding have we granted?

Kassala and Nyala Hospitals

$200,000 in FY2012

Dr. Abbo Khartoum Teaching Hospital

$185,800 in FY2013
$137,710 in FY2011

Who is our partner?

We provide grant support to these hospitals through Women and Health Alliance International (WAHA).

How will this help women in Sudan?

In operation for over 40 years, Dr. Abbo Khartoum Teaching Hospital has one of the longest-running fistula programs on the African continent. However, conflict and lack of supplies and trained surgeons have limited the number of women they are able to treat. We’re turning that around. With funding from Fistula Foundation, the hospital aims to increase their capacity to treat very complex fistula cases and train more local surgeons in the most advanced fistula surgery techniques. They are currently performing between 100-200 surgeries a year, many of them complex cases in which the patient has had one or multiple failed surgery attempts in the past.

The maternal health situation is especially dire in the Kassala and Nyala regions of Sudan. With funding from Fistula Foundation, our long-time partners at WAHA are working to establish quality fistula treatment services in these two areas. Before this project there were no fistula repair services available in Kassala; there is now a small fistula care team at Kassala Hospital capable of providing routine services to fistula patients, and they continue to build their capacity through trainings and workshops. While there is a small fistula ward at Nyala Hospital, it was barely functional for a period of time due to lack of resources. We have helped build up infrastructure at the hospital and provide refresher training courses for surgeons to reinforce and enhance their skills. These two hospitals performed over 200 surgeries in 2012 and hope to increase that number as capacity continues to increase.


Where is Sudan?


Facts About Sudan

  • Population:35,482,233
  • Average births per woman:3.92
  • Physicians per 10,000 people:2.8
  • Births attended by skilled personnel:23.1%
  • Lifetime risk of maternal death:1 in 31(chances a woman will die during childbirth)
  • Female life expectancy:65.46 years
  • Female literacy:63.2%
  • Population living in rural areas:66.6%
  • Population living in poverty:46.5%(less than $1.25/day)
  • Surgeries completed through Fistula Foundation funding to date:675

Sources: CIA World Fact Book; WHO, World Bank, UNFPA.

We’re Making a Difference in Sudan

Fatima, from Sudan (photo credit: WAHA)

Meet Fatima from Sudan

Fatima lives in Sudan. She went into labor at the age of 16, but initially didn't have access to a hospital. By the time she was taken to the hospital, the baby was dead, and Fatima developed an obstetric fistula. Her husband divorced her, leaving Fatima emotionally shattered by the loss of her husband and first born child.
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