To view the newsletter correctly and to access the links, click ->
View this email in your browser
         Fistula Training Initiative
                  Spring Edition

Dear FIGO Friends,

Welcome to the Spring edition of the Fistula Training Initiative Newsletter!

It has been a very busy start to the year here at FIGO & we're happy to share some of the latest updates with you about:

-Recent Fellows-

In the first quarter of 2016, five new Fellows have joined the Training Programme & FIGO is especially pleased to welcome the first surgeons from Somalia & Somaliland.                   For some of the most recent training photos, please see below:
The Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia Team with Fellows from Somalia & Democratic Republic of Congo, who will complete their training placement in April
        FIGO's first Fellow from Somaliland             during her training in Hamlin Fistula             Ethiopia 
The hospital team with 2 Fellows presently undergoing training in CCBRT, Tanzania

-Coaching Visits-

The next round of coaching visits are now well underway! Dr Vindhya has recently done a successful visit for FIGO Fellow, Dr Fahmida Zabin in the MAMM's Institute in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where 13 complex fistula repairs were performed. Sincere thanks to Prof Sayeba & to Dr Fahmida for their support in making the clinical arrangements for the visit, & also to Dr Vindhya for sharing her expertise.  For a selection of photos from the coaching visit, please see below:

-Interview with FIGO Trainer Dr Kees Waaldijk-

Dr Kees Waaldijk, accomplished fistula surgeon & author of many fistula-related publications, has recently released his new book  'obstetric trauma surgery- art and science-' . Dr Kees would like to share the book with readers, & welcomes any comments. He can be contacted on

Dr Kees also kindly agreed to answer a few questions about his important fistula work, which we're happy to share with you below:
1.  How long have you been working on fistula?
A:  For the last 32 years, since December 1983

2.  Where have you done fistula work?
A: Mostly in Nigeria & to a lesser extent in République du Niger; & then during workshops in some other countries

3. How many fistula repairs have you done to date?
A: Some 25,000 surgical & conservative procedures in 20,000 women

4. How do you think fistula work has changed in the past 10 years?
A: I do not think it has changed; but now there is more public awareness

5. What do you think are the biggest challenges in providing quality fistula facilities in high need countries? 
A: First the surgical know-how & expertise & skills, second the finances
6. What are your biggest frustrations in fistula repair work? 
A: That however much one invests, in the end some cases turn out to be incurable; another frustration is that some organizations are more interested in quantity than in quality which can have devastating consequences for the patient
7. What have been your proudest moments working on fistula? 
A:  To have achieved more in my life than I ever thought possible, especially as a reconstructive obstetric trauma surgeon. I feel very privileged to have found what I was looking for, & this life-long work continues to fascinate me & give me deep satisfaction.

 Dr Kees
Dr Kees' new book

-Update: Action on Fistula in Kenya-

In May 2014, Fistula Foundation partnered with Astellas Pharma EMEA to launch Action on Fistula, a $2 million, three-year initiative designed to treat 1,200 women in Kenya suffering from obstetric fistula. Through the initiative, a Fistula Treatment Network has been developed, helping partner facilities across Kenya share expertise & resources. Action on Fistula also funds community outreach, to identify patients in even the remotest areas, as well as providing FIGO training opportunities for Kenyan surgeons. As of March 2016, Action on Fistula is delivering results well ahead of schedule. To date:
         994 women have received free fistula surgery
         7 facilities have joined the Fistula Treatment Network
         5 surgeons have been trained through the FIGO Fistula Training Programme
         918 health providers & 184,015 community members have been  sensitized about fistula                  through community outreach activities

An estimated 90 percent of the women treated have received successful surgery through referrals from community outreach activities, & the partnership has been very fruitful, thanks to staff & the leadership at Astellas, who have enabled this life-changing work.
Kenyan Fellow Dr Wanjala meeting patients in the current fistula ward at Gynocare, Kenya
Construction of the new Gynocare Fistula Hospital in Kenya
Dr Omboga receives his training certificate, & is now the fistula surgeon at the newly launched Kisii Gynocare Fistula Center in Kenya, part of the Action on Fistula network.
Pictured (left to right): Dr Arrowsmith, Dr Omboga, Dr Mabeya
The FIGO Fistula Initiative is largely supported by Fistula Foundation, which has funded more than 19,300 surgeries across 30 countries since 2009.

-Medical Aid Films-

Medical Aid Films (MAF) is a London-based Charity that uses film & animation to empower health workers & communities with knowledge & skills, to improve the lives of women & children around the world. To date, MAF has produced 179 films in 13 languages, from reproductive health & safe birth to prevention & management of obstetric emergencies.  All of their films are available on the MAF website & are free to watch or download.

One of MAF's most recent productions is a training film for fistula nurses. Please feel free to use the film as a training resource for nursing staff through the link below:

MAF Training Film for Fistula Nurses (with subtitles) 

-International Day to End Obstetric Fistula-

23 May 2016 marks the fourth International Day to End Obstetric Fistula. Designated in 2013 by the United Nations General Assembly, this new international day was put in place to create significantly greater awareness globally about obstetric fistula & to intensify actions towards eradicating the condition.
Please plan ahead to join national & international efforts to mark this important day. 

-ISOFS Conference 2016-

The International Society of Obstetric Fistula Surgeons - the professional body working on the prevention, treatment & rehabilitation of obstetric fistula patients - will hold its two-yearly conference this year from 24th - 28th October, in Abuja, Nigeria. 

Registration for the conference will open shortly & more news will be circulated in the coming months from ISOFS!

We hope you've enjoyed the Spring edition of the Newsletter. As always, if you have any comments about the Newsletter or experience any problems receiving or accessing it, don't hesitate to let us know, we’ll always be pleased to hear from you!

Finally, grateful thanks to all the FIGO Trainers & Fellows, as well as Fistula Foundation, who kindly provided many of the photos featured in this edition of the Newsletter - please keep them coming!

Gillian & Lilli

International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics
FIGO House, Suite 3, Waterloo Court
10 Theed Street, London SE1 8ST