A new film about safety in fistula surgery

Obstetric fistula is one of the most devastating and serious injuries that can occur during childbirth. It affects between 50,000 and 100,000 women each year, mainly in low-income countries, and it is estimated that more than 2 million women live with untreated fistula in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa alone. Women who experience obstetric fistula not only risked death during delivery, but they also continue to suffer incontinence, shame, social segregation, and health problems. These women’s lives can be transformed by reconstructive fistula surgery provided in a safe surgical and safe anaesthesia environment.

There is a clear need for this basic minimum acceptable standard to improve safety and quality assurance in fistula care. This is the worldwide issue that our film aims to address. The film was made in partnership with EngenderHealth, a leading global women’s health organisation committed to creating lasting change by training health care professionals and partnering with governments and communities to make high-quality family planning and sexual and reproductive health services available for all generations to come.

The new film provides a clear, accessible, context-appropriate, and informative tool to support the delivery of quality care around fistula surgery. Shot on location in Nigeria, it features interviews from fistula surgeons and nursing staff from a leading teaching hospital, UCH Ibadan, and demonstrates the importance and use of safe surgery checklists, which are central to ensuring the safety of patients undergoing fistula surgery.

The film – available in English and West African French – will be used as part of EngenderHealth’s Fistula Care Plus programme, which has already helped support over 39,000 fistula repairs and patients worldwide. Through this film, we aim to help advance safe surgery practice to improve outcomes for women affected by fistula across the world. Click here to watch and download the films for free.