Fistula Foundation featured prominently in 10th Anniversary Edition of The Life You Can Save! Learn More


 Please note: Fistula Foundation is not currently funding active work in Somalia.

Why Do We Work in Somalia?

Somalia has some of the worst maternal health indicators in the world. The fertility rate is very high as are infant and maternal mortality rates; malnutrition is chronic, early marriage is common, and most deliveries are done at home without the presence of a skilled attendant. Women in Somalia live in a highly insecure context where healthcare infrastructure and maternal health programs have been disrupted and limited in availability for decades. Facilities tend to be dilapidated, basic equipment and medications are in short supply, and there is a lack of trained medical personnel throughout the country. All of these factors are indicative of a high rate of maternal morbidities such as obstetric fistula.

What You Helped Us Do In Somalia

We’re helping fund:

  • Fistula surgeries
  • Surgeon training


Hanano and Benadir Hospitals, Mogadishu

How much funding have we granted?

$242,800 in FY2013
$200,000 in FY2012

Who was our partner?

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

How will this help women in Somalia?

Until recently, there were no regular fistula services available in Somalia. Women were forced to travel to Somaliland or neighboring Ethiopia to seek treatment, but instability and high transport costs rendered this option impossible for most women. This project aimed to ensure and expand the provision of continuous, high quality fistula care in Mogadishu through fistula treatment facilities at Hanano and Benadir Hospitals.

More than 250 women with fistula were treated through our most recent grant to WAHA. Training was also provided to a local surgeon using the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) standardized curriculum, significant community outreach was conducted, and dilapidated facilities at Benadir Hospital were renovated.

Where is Somalia?

Fistula Foundation Map: Somalia

Facts About Somalia

  • Population:10,428,043
  • Average births per woman:6.08
  • Physicians per 10,000 people:0.4
  • Births attended by skilled personnel:33%
  • Lifetime risk of maternal death:1 in 18(chances a woman will die during childbirth)
  • Female life expectancy:53.65 years
  • Female literacy:25.8%
  • Population living in rural areas:61.8%
  • Surgeries completed through Fistula Foundation funding to date:564

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

We’re Making a Difference in Somalia

Halima, from Somalia (photo credit: WAHA)

Meet Halima from Somalia

Halima is yet another brave fistula survivor from Somalia. “When I went to labour, the pain got stronger and stronger and lasted on and on. Something was not right. It took two days to convince my husband to bring me to a health facility. The doctors that saw me decided to immediately carry out a cesarean section. But they had no anesthesia. The pain was unbearable, and when I screamed they started beating me. My baby could not be saved and I developed what I later learned was an obstetric fistula. My husband left me because he could not stand the smell caused by my injury.”
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