Malawi is a narrow, landlocked nation in southeast Africa. Despite high rates of prenatal care and births attended by skilled personnel, the chances that a woman will die in childbirth or due to maternal causes are 1 in 29. The country also has a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, which diverts already limited healthcare resources and adversely affects efforts to improve maternal health.
Our partner Freedom From Fistula Foundation—whose work is highlighted in the film Shout Gladi Gladi (see below)—began offering fistula care services in Malawi in 2010. Two years later, they opened the Fistula Care Center at Bwaila Hospital, a facility that has since garnered a reputation as the gold standard for fistula care in Malawi. With a dedicated operating room and 35 beds, the unit can accommodate more than 400 patients each year. Their holistic approach to treating patients extends beyond surgery—the center also provides literacy classes, access to microfinance, and lessons in sewing, beading, and embroidery, to provide income-generating skills.
Since last summer, funding from Fistula Foundation has provided surgery for more than 290 women. Your donations have also helped provide training for surgeons and other support staff, expanded outreach, and supported rehabilitation programs for recovering patients.
This story originally appeared in the Spring 2016 edition of our newsletter, Transformations.